This article is the second part of the article on Arthritis- Signs and Management. Read the basics of arthritis and when to visit the doc at Arthritis Basics- When to See the Doc?
X rays and MRI s may be ordered to help the diagnosis and based on the cumulative results of physical examination, X ray reports and medical history analysis, if you or your relative have actually been diagnosed with arthritis, then Read on to find the difference between Rheumatoid and osteoarthritis and also simple diet tips to manage arthritis and arthritic pain.
Rheumatoid or Osteoarthritis- Know the Difference
So, you already know that the two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. But do you know the difference between their symptoms and distinguishing characteristics?
Let’s find out.
1) Rheumatoid Arthritis Basics:
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, inflammatory type of arthritis and is also classified as an autoimmune disease (immune cells attack the body’s own healthy tissues). Though the joints are primarily affected by rheumatoid arthritis, there may be systemic effect on other body parts or organs as well. Common theories which determine the cause of RA point to a genetic predisposition and a triggering event. A combination of test results, a clinical examination, and patient medical history together can help determine a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.
- A few key distinguishing indicators are -Morning stiffness lasting more than an hour, involvement of the small bones of the hands and feet, extreme fatigue, rheumatoid nodules, and symmetrical joint involvement (i.e. both knees not one knee).
Each individual patient is evaluated by their rheumatologist and a treatment plan with arthritic medicines as the primary course is agreed upon. Along with medication, Dietary modifications and some forms of complementary treatment or local injections may also help relieve pain.
2) Osteoarthritis Basics
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative or wear and tear disease, predominantly affecting the joints, unlike rheumatoid arthritis, which may have systemic effects. The most common symptom associated with osteoarthritis is pain in the affected joint after repeated use with joint pain often getting worse later in the day. This type of arthritis results from the breakdown of cartilage (a cushion like structure in between the joints) in one or more of the joints. As we age, the water content of cartilage increases while protein composition of cartilage degenerates and this acts as a cause of OA, in addition to other risk factors like- injury, being overweight and family history.
- The key distinguishing indicators would be that the affected joints can swell, feel warm, and become stiff after prolonged inactivity. Bone spurs and bony enlargements are also characteristic features.
The treatment options for osteoarthritis focus on relieving pain and restoring function to the affected joints. Physical treatments (weight reduction, exercise, heat fomentations, rest) , medications (anti -inflammatory or pain killers), dietary modifications with supplements and at times, even surgical treatments like arthroscopy or joint replacement are advised.
Nutrition to Relieve Arthritic pain
A right diet with right mix of nutrients is good for all but more so for arthritic patients. For example, if you are overweight and suffer from arthritis, one of the most important things you can do to help yourself is to try bringing your weight closer to the ideal range by changing the amount and type of food you eat.
Being overweight puts an extra burden on the weight-bearing joints (back, hips, knees, ankles and feet) when they are already damaged or under strain. Because of the way joints work, the pressure in your knee joints is 5–6 times your body weight when you walk. Even a small weight loss can make a big difference to your joint and the associated symptoms.
Diet Tips to Manage Arthritis
Here are some guidelines that may help.
- Include omega 3 fatty acids in the diet. Oily fish – such as cod liver oil supplements, tuna, salmon, and sardines or nuts like almonds and walnuts help.
- Vitamin C acts an anti -oxidant and reduces inflammation- found in many foods such as kiwifruit, peaches, oranges.
- Turmeric and ginger – anti-inflammatory foods (may be used in curries, soups, or stews).
- Some reports point that a vegetarian or vegan diet helps, so cut down on meats and whole eggs.
- It is considered that the vegetables from the solanum (or nightshade)family cause problems – potatoes, capsicums, eggplant, and tomatoes. You may avoid them and see if you experience any difference.
- Avoid Foods high in saturated fat – such as full-fat dairy, fatty meat, baked foods and also those which are high in salt and sugar content.
- Be active. Regular exercise helps in better blood circulation and keeps joints active.
- Ayurvedic herbs like Mahayoga raj guggul helps.