Painful joint swelling.
Joint deformities and loss of function.
These are just a few of the symptoms you may experience with rheumatoid arthritis.
This is the second most common form of arthritis after osteoarthritis.
It can be a debilitating condition, but if caught early you can more effectively manage it.
Read on to find out more about how you can help manage rheumatoid arthritis using naturopathic solutions for autoimmune disorders.
What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that can cause painful swelling and inflammation in your joints.
It’s similar to osteoarthritis in that way, but with rheumatoid arthritis, the symptoms are caused by your immune system attacking your joints mistakenly.
Another distinguishing factor from other forms of arthritis is that it’s usually present symmetrically in both sides of your body.
This is one of the easiest ways for doctors to tell whether you have rheumatoid arthritis or something else.
What are the symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis can have many painful symptoms.
Some of these symptoms include joint swelling and stiffness, deformed joints, and loss of joint function.
It is quite common for rheumatoid arthritis to manifest in the joints of your hands.
It can feel like a burning sensation at first, and then progress to include chronic pain, redness, swelling, and joint stiffness.
Severe cases can result in deformities over time if left untreated.
These symptoms can vary from mild to quite severe.
It is always best to speak to your Mississauga naturopathic doctor before your symptoms worsen so we can get you the help you need early.
Types of Rheumatoid arthritis
There are a few different types of rheumatoid arthritis.
Let’s take a closer look
Seropositive Rheumatoid Arthritis
Seropositive rheumatoid arthritis is the most common, can run in families, and is the most severe type.
Symptoms of seropositive rheumatoid arthritis can include stiffness of joints in the morning lasting 30 minutes or more, pain and swelling in multiple joints, fatigue, and weight loss.
Seropositive rheumatoid arthritis is not always confined to the joints as it can appear as inflammation in the eyes, nerves, lungs, kidneys, salivary glands, heart , blood vessels, and skin.
Seronegative Rheumatoid Arthritis
Another type is seronegative rheumatoid arthritis, which is characterized by a negative RFblood test result and a negative anti-CCP result, while still having all the rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.
RF stands for rheumatoid factor, which is a protein your immune system makes.
Your body uses it to fight off illnesses, but it also uses it to attack your own tissues in autoimmune conditions – so the presence of RF can mean you have an autoimmune disorder.
Anti-CCP, on the other hand, is a test that checks for anticitrullinated protein antibodies – also associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
Juveline Idiopathic Arthritis
The third type is juvenile idiopathic arthritis, which occurs in children aged 17 or younger.
The symptoms can be the same for this type of rheumatoid arthritis, and may also include issues with physical development, and eye inflammation.
What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis?
While the exact cause is not known, certain factors can play a role in increasing the risks of developing Rheumatoid arthritis.
Women, and those with a family history are more at risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
Some factors can trigger the onset of the disease, such as:
- Smoking cigarettes
- History of certain viral infections
- Exposure to bacteria associated with periodontal disease
- Damage to your joints from things such as bone breakage and dislocation
Naturopathic Solutions For Rheumatoid Arthritis
At the time of writing, there is no known cure for rheumatoid arthritis.
However, there are naturopathic treatments you can use to help manage your condition.
With a little vigilance, naturopathic medicine may help you minimize your symptoms so you can still enjoy a happy, productive life.
1. Eat An Anti Inflammatory Diet
One of the main characteristics of rheumatoid arthritis is inflammation, and eating an anti inflammatory diet can help with these symptoms.
This type of diet can include foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, foods high in dietary fibre, antioxidant rich foods like berries and dark chocolate, and foods containing flavonoids including green tea and soy.
Foods that trigger inflammation should be avoided, such as processed carbohydrates, and saturated fats.
2. Get Active
There are quite a few ways to safely stay active when suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
Low impact exercises such as gentle yoga can help stretch your joints and help gain strength and flexibility.
Other activities such as cycling and swimming can also help strengthen your muscles and take some of the strain off your joints.
3. Take Curcumin
Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, the Asian spice that gives curry its distinctive yellow colour.
Studies have shown that taking curcumin supplements can help reduce joint inflammation.
It has also been shown effective as a natural treatment for PCOS, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and may even have some anti-cancer properties.
4. Take Probiotics
Studies have also shown that taking probiotics can help lower inflammation and provide relief for your joint pain.
Probiotics are great for your gut health, and can be ingested as part of your healthy diet through foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods.
They can also be taken in supplement form.
However, there are many different types of probiotics – speak to your naturopathic doctor to find out which would be best for your unique needs.
5. Supplement With Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 oils are fatty acids which your body needs to properly function.
They play a host of different roles, including improving brain function, reducing the risk of heart disease, improving eye health, and more.
Studies show that they can also help fight the inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis.
Supplementing your diet with Omega-3 fatty acids can help combat inflammation by blocking inflammatory receptors.
Dietary sources of omega-3’s include fish (salmon, sardines, herring, anchovies), chia, flax, and hemp seeds, walnuts, and soybeans.
Book An Appointment With The Mindful Healing Clinic
Have you been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis?
Do you have a family history of rheumatoid arthritis?
If so, please contact us at The Mindful Healing Clinic today for a free consultation, and learn more about how naturopathic medicine can help you.
Until next time,
Dr. Maria Cavallazzi is a medical doctor from Colombia where she practiced as a family physician for 8 years until she moved to Canada 16 years ago and became a naturopathic doctor in Mississauga.