About 1% of the population worldwide suffers from rheumatoid arthritis. This is approximately 1.5 – 2 million people. There are two categories of rheumatoid arthritis they are:
- Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, which affects young people.
- Rheumatoid arthritis, which affect adults.
This article will explain more about rheumatoid arthritis, the diagnosis, and the role of vitamins and prescribed treatment.
What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Arthritis is a common term which is often used loosely. Most people are unaware that there are over 100 types of arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis is just one of them.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of arthritis that affects the autoimmune system. It affects the joints of the body and other systems as well.
Rheumatoid arthritis is referred to as a systemic disease because it affects the whole body system; including the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. In other types of arthritis one side of the foot maybe affected while the other is not. In rheumatoid arthritis, if one foot is affected then the other is also affected.
Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Researchers have not found the main cause of rheumatoid arthritis, though it is believed to be due to genetics.
The symptoms vary among children and adults. It ranges from mild, affecting just a few joints in the body to severe cases that affect the whole system of the body. Symptoms can start as early as the age of 2 for children while for adults tend to show symptoms as early as 30 years old. Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis Include:
- Stiffness and swelling in joints, soreness, and warm feelings
- Experiencing stiffness after staying in a position for long.
- Weight loss
Tests such as anemia and imaging test are carried out to narrow down the diagnosis and check the extent of the disease. A blood test will also be performed looking for the following:
- Anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies
- Rheumatoid factor antibodies
- Elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate(ESR, or sed rate)
- C-reactive protein
The Role of Vitamins in Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis
John Hopkins explains the need of vitamins in treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, and some of these reasons include:
- The weight loss experienced during rheumatoid disease results in the loss of vital nutrients and vitamins in the body.
- Most people that suffer from rheumatoid arthritis usually have problems with food.
- Eating the right food which adds necessary nutrient to the body can help the immune system.
It is important to understand that certain vitamins are essential in fighting this disease:
- Vitamin D – Vitamin D is essential in the absorption of calcium and growth of the bone. A link between lack of vitamin D and severe RA symptoms has been found.
- Vitamin E – Helps to increase the effectiveness of drugs used for arthritis.
- Omega-3 fatty acid – Can contribute to nourish the body and ease joint stiffness.
- Vitamin B9 – Helps supplement folic acid depletion caused by some medications.
- Bromelain and Turmeric – Helps in reducing pain and act as an anti inflammatory aid.
- Gamma linolenic acid – Reduces pain and swelling in the joints.
- Corticosteroids – Usually eases rheumatoid symptoms.
A steady balance of vitamins in the body is essential. If a deficiency is noticed, it should be treated as soon as possible.
You should also consult your doctor before you begin taking any combination of vitamins, especially during pregnancy
Even though there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, there are many treatments that can help you get relief. Vitamins are one the treatments that can help you get relief from the symptoms you are feeling. Before starting a regime of vitamins, consult with your rheumatologist.