- Processed foods. Avoid processed foods, such as baked goods and prepackaged meals and snacks. …
- Omega-6 fatty acids. …
- Sugar and certain sugar alternatives. …
- Red meat and fried foods. …
- Refined carbohydrates. …
- Cheese and high-fat dairy. …
- Maintain a Healthy Weight. Excess weight puts additional pressure on weight-bearing joints, such as the hips and knees. …
- Control Blood Sugar. …
- Get Physical. …
- Protect Joints. …
- Choose a Healthy Lifestyle.
- Fruit Basics. All fruits have health benefits, but some have more disease-fighting properties than others. …
- Tart cherries. Tart cherries get their dark red color and many of their powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits from the flavonoid anthocyanin. …
- Strawberries. …
- Red Raspberries. …
- Avocado. …
- Watermelon. …
- 8 Food Ingredients That Can Cause Inflammation. When you have arthritis, your body is in an inflammatory state. …
- Sugar. It may be hard to resist desserts, pastries, chocolate bars, sodas, even fruit juices. …
- Saturated Fats. …
- Trans Fats. …
- Omega 6 Fatty Acids. …
- Refined Carbohydrates. …
- MSG. …
- Gluten and Casein.
- Curcumin (from turmeric root) Evidence suggests the turmeric root has anti-inflammatory properties. …
- Vitamin D. If you have arthritis pain or are at high risk for arthritis, your doctor may recommend a vitamin D supplement. …
- Omega-3 fatty acids. …
- Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate.
- Tea. Tea is one of the most-studied drinks when it comes to its benefits for arthritis patients. …
- Coffee. Research shows coffee also has antioxidant polyphenols. …
- Milk. …
- Juices. …
- Smoothies. …
- Alcohol. …
Eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, and potatoes are all members of the nightshade family. These vegetables contain the chemical solanine, which some people claim aggravates arthritis pain and inflammation.
Common arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion. Symptoms may come and go. They can be mild, moderate, or severe. They may stay about the same for years but can progress or get worse over time. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain, inability to do daily activities, and make it difficult to walk or climb stairs.
Arthritis can cause permanent joint changes. These changes may be visible, such as knobby finger joints, but often the damage can only be seen on X-ray. Some types of arthritis also affect the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys, and skin as well as the joints.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. When the cartilage – the slick, cushioning surface on the ends of bones – wears away, bone rubs against bone, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness. Over time, joints can lose strength and pain may become chronic. Risk factors include excess weight, family history, age, and previous injury (i.e., an anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL tear).
Regular physical activity, hot and cold therapies, over-the-counter pain relievers, and assistive devices are commonly used to help manage mild to moderate osteoarthritis symptoms. If joint symptoms are severe, causing limited mobility and affecting the quality of life, joint replacement may be necessary. Osteoarthritis may be prevented by staying active, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding injury and repetitive movements.
A healthy immune system is protective. It generates internal inflammation to get rid of the infection and prevent disease. But with inflammatory types of arthritis, the immune system doesn’t work properly and mistakenly attacks the joints with uncontrolled inflammation, potentially causing joint erosion. Inflammation can also damage internal organs, eyes, and other parts of the body. Rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and gout are examples of inflammatory arthritis.
Researchers believe that a combination of genetics and environmental factors can trigger autoimmunity. Smoking is an example of an environmental risk factor that can trigger rheumatoid arthritis in people with certain genes.
With autoimmune and inflammatory types of arthritis, early diagnosis and aggressive treatment are critical. Slowing disease activity can help minimize or even prevent permanent joint damage. Remission (little to no disease activity) is the goal and may be achieved by using one or more medications known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Other treatment goals include reducing pain, improving function, and preventing further joint damage.
- Joint pain.
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Loss of appetite.
- Inflammation of the eye.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis, formerly known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, is the most common type of arthritis in children under the age of 16.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis can cause persistent joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. Some children may experience symptoms for only a few months, while others have symptoms for many years.
Some types of juvenile idiopathic arthritis can cause serious complications, such as growth problems, joint damage, and eye inflammation. Treatment focuses on controlling pain and inflammation, improving function, and preventing damage.
The most common signs and symptoms of juvenile idiopathic arthritis are:
- Pain. While your child might not complain of joint pain, you may notice that he or she limps — especially first thing in the morning or after a nap.
- Swelling. Joint swelling is common but is often first noticed in larger joints such as the knee.
- Stiffness. You might notice that your child appears clumsier than usual, particularly in the morning or after naps.
- Fever, swollen lymph nodes, and rash. In some cases, high fever, swollen lymph nodes, or a rash on the trunk may occur — which is usually worse in the evenings.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis can affect one joint or many. There are several different subtypes of juvenile idiopathic arthritis, but the main ones are systemic, oligoarticular, and polyarticular. Which type of your child has depended on symptoms, the number of joints affected, and if fever and rashes are prominent features.
Like other forms of arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis is characterized by times when symptoms flare up and times when symptoms may be minimal.
When to see a doctor
Take your child to the doctor if he or she has joint pain, swelling, or stiffness for more than a week — especially if he or she also has a fever.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its own cells and tissues. It’s not known why this happens, but both heredity and environment seem to play a role.
Some forms of juvenile idiopathic arthritis are more common in girls.
Several serious complications can result from juvenile idiopathic arthritis. But keeping a careful watch on your child’s condition and seeking appropriate medical attention can greatly reduce the risk of these complications:
- Eye problems. Some forms can cause eye inflammation. If this condition is left untreated, it may result in cataracts, glaucoma, and even blindness. Eye inflammation frequently occurs without symptoms, so it’s important for children with this condition to be examined regularly by an ophthalmologist.
- Growth problems. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis can interfere with your child’s growth and bone development.
- Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
- Hypothyroidism/Hashimoto’s disease.
- Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases.
- Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome (myalgic encephalomyelitis)
- Myofascial pain.
- Fibromyalgia affects two-four percent of people, women more often than men.
- Fibromyalgia is not an autoimmune or inflammation-based illness, but research suggests the nervous system is involved.
- Doctors diagnose fibromyalgia based on all the patient’s relevant symptoms (what you feel), no longer just on the number of tender places during an examination.
- There is no test to detect this disease, but you may need lab tests or X-rays to rule out other health problems.
- Though there is no cure, medications can reduce symptoms in some patients.
- Patients also may feel better with proper self-care, such as exercise and getting enough sleep.
Fibromyalgia is a common neurologic health problem that causes widespread pain and tenderness (sensitivity to touch). The pain and tenderness tend to come and go and move about the body. Most often, people with this chronic (long-term) illness are fatigued (very tired) and have sleep problems. The diagnosis can be made with a careful examination.
Fibromyalgia is most common in women, though it can occur in men. It most often starts in middle adulthood but can occur in the teen years and in old age. You are at higher risk for fibromyalgia if you have a rheumatic disease (a health problem that affects the joints, muscles, and bones).
What causes fibromyalgia?
The causes of fibromyalgia are unclear. They may be different in different people. Current research suggests the involvement of the nervous system, particularly the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Fibromyalgia is not from an autoimmune, inflammation, joint, or muscle disorder. Fibromyalgia may run in families. There likely are certain genes that can make people more prone to getting fibromyalgia and the other health problems that can occur with it. Genes alone, though, do not cause fibromyalgia.
There is most often some triggering factor that sets off fibromyalgia. It may be spine problems, arthritis, injury, or another type of physical stress. Emotional stress also may trigger this illness. The result is a change in the way the body “talks” with the spinal cord and brain. Levels of brain chemicals and proteins may change. More recently, Fibromyalgia has been described as a Central Pain Amplification disorder, meaning the volume of pain sensation in the brain is turned up too high.
Although Fibromyalgia can affect the quality of life, it is still considered medically benign. It does not cause any heart attacks, stroke, cancer, physical deformities, or loss of life.
How is fibromyalgia diagnosed?
A doctor will suspect fibromyalgia based on your symptoms. Doctors may require that you have tenderness to pressure or tender points at a specific number of certain spots before saying you have fibromyalgia, but they are not required to make the diagnosis (see the Box). A physical exam can be helpful to detect tenderness and to exclude other causes of muscle pain. There are no diagnostic tests (such as X-rays or blood tests) for this problem. Yet, you may need tests to rule out another health problem that can be confused with fibromyalgia.
Because widespread body pain is the main feature of fibromyalgia, health care providers will ask you to describe your pain. This may help tell the difference between fibromyalgia and other diseases with similar symptoms. Other conditions such as hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland) and polymyalgia rheumatic sometimes mimic fibromyalgia. Blood tests can tell if you have either of these problems. Sometimes, fibromyalgia is confused with rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. But, again, there is a difference in the symptoms, physical findings, and blood tests that will help your health care provider detect these health problems. Unlike fibromyalgia, these rheumatic diseases cause inflammation in the joints and tissues.
|1. Pain and symptoms over the past week, based on the total number of painful areas out of 19 parts of the body plus level of severity of these symptoms:
b. Waking unrefreshed
c. Cognitive (memory or thought) problems plus a number of other general physical symptoms
|2. Symptoms lasting at least three months at a similar level|
|3. No other health problem that would explain the pain and other symptoms|
How is fibromyalgia treated?
There is no cure for fibromyalgia. However, symptoms can be treated with both non-drug and medication-based treatments. Many times the best outcomes are achieved by using multiple types of treatments.
Non-Drug Therapies: People with fibromyalgia should use non-drug treatments as well as any medicines their doctors suggest. Research shows that the most effective treatment for fibromyalgia is physical exercise. Physical exercise should be used in addition to any drug treatment. Patients benefit most from regular aerobic exercises. Other body-based therapies, including Tai Chi and yoga, can ease fibromyalgia symptoms. Although you may be in pain, low-impact physical exercise will not be harmful.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a type of therapy focused on understanding how thoughts and behaviors affect pain and other symptoms. CBT and related treatments, such as mindfulness, can help patients learn symptom reduction skills that lessen pain. Mindfulness is a non-spiritual meditation practice that cultivates present moment awareness. Mindfulness-based stress reduction has been shown to significantly improve symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Other complementary and alternative therapies (sometimes called CAM or integrative medicine), such as acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage therapy, can be useful to manage fibromyalgia symptoms. Many of these treatments, though, have not been well tested in patients with fibromyalgia.
It is important to address risk factors and triggers for fibromyalgia including sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, and mood problems such as stress, anxiety, panic disorder, and depression. This may require the involvement of other specialists such as a Sleep Medicine doctor, Psychiatrist, and therapist.
Medications: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved three drugs for the treatment of fibromyalgia. They include two drugs that change some of the brain chemicals (serotonin and norepinephrine) that help control pain levels: duloxetine (Cymbalta) and milnacipran (Savella). Older drugs that affect these same brain chemicals also may be used to treat fibromyalgia. These include amitriptyline (Elavil) and cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril). Other antidepressant drugs can be helpful in some patients. Side effects vary by the drug. Ask your doctor about the risks and benefits of your medicine.
The other drug approved for fibromyalgia is pregabalin (Lyrica). Pregabalin and another drug, gabapentin (Neurontin), work by blocking the overactivity of nerve cells involved in pain transmission. These medicines may cause dizziness, sleepiness, swelling, and weight gain.
It is strongly recommended to avoid opioid narcotic medications for treating fibromyalgia. The reason for this is that research evidence shows these drugs are not of help to most people with fibromyalgia and will cause greater pain sensitivity or make pain persist. Tramadol (Ultram) may be used to treat fibromyalgia pain if short-term use of an opioid narcotic is needed. Over-the-counter medicines such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (commonly called NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox) are not effective for fibromyalgia pain. Yet, these drugs may be useful to treat the pain triggers of fibromyalgia. Thus, they are most useful in people who have other causes for pain such as arthritis in addition to fibromyalgia.
For sleep problems, some of the medicines that treat pain also improve sleep. These include cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), amitriptyline (Elavil), gabapentin (Neurontin) or pregabalin (Lyrica). It is not recommended that patients with fibromyalgia take sleeping medicines like zolpidem (Ambien) or benzodiazepine medications.
Living with fibromyalgia
Even with the many treatment options, patient self-care is vital to improving symptoms and daily function. In concert with medical treatment, healthy lifestyle behaviors can reduce pain, increase sleep quality, lessen fatigue and help you cope better with fibromyalgia. With proper treatment and self-care, you can get better and live a more normal life. Here are some self-care tips for living with fibromyalgia:
- Make time to relax each day. Deep-breathing exercises and meditation will help reduce the stress that can bring on symptoms.
- Set a regular sleep pattern. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Getting enough sleep lets your body repair itself, physically and mentally. Also, avoid daytime napping and limit caffeine intake, which can disrupt sleep. Nicotine is a stimulant, so those fibromyalgia patients with sleep problems should stop smoking.
- Exercise often. This is a very important part of fibromyalgia treatment. While difficult at first, regular exercise often reduces pain symptoms and fatigue. Patients should follow the saying, “Start low, go slow.” Slowly add daily fitness into your routine. For instance, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or park further away from the store. As your symptoms decrease with drug treatments, start increasing your activity. Add in some walking, swimming, water aerobics, and/or stretching exercises, and begin to do things that you stopped doing because of your pain and other symptoms. It takes time to create a comfortable routine. Just get moving, stay active, and don’t give up!
- Educate yourself. Nationally recognized organizations like the Arthritis Foundation and the National Fibromyalgia Association are great resources for information. Share this information with family, friends, and co-workers.
- Look forward, not backward. Focus on what you need to do to get better, not what caused your illness.
Gout is a common and complex form of arthritis that can affect anyone. It’s characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness in the joints, often the joint at the base of the big toe.
An attack of gout can occur suddenly, often waking you up in the middle of the night with the sensation that your big toe is on fire. The affected joint is hot, swollen and so tender that even the weight of the sheet on it may seem intolerable.
Gout symptoms may come and go, but there are ways to manage symptoms and prevent flares.
The signs and symptoms of gout almost always occur suddenly, and often at night. They include:
- Intense joint pain. Gout usually affects the large joint of your big toe, but it can occur in any joint. Other commonly affected joints include the ankles, knees, elbows, wrists, and fingers. The pain is likely to be most severe within the first four to 12 hours after it begins.
- Lingering discomfort. After the most severe pain subsides, some joint discomfort may last from a few days to a few weeks. Later attacks are likely to last longer and affect more joints.
- Inflammation and redness. The affected joint or joints become swollen, tender, warm, and red.
- Limited range of motion. As gout progresses, you may not be able to move your joints normally.
If you experience sudden, intense pain in a joint, call your doctor. Gout that goes untreated can lead to worsening pain and joint damage.
Seek medical care immediately if you have a fever and a joint is hot and inflamed, which can be a sign of infection.
Gout occurs when urate crystals accumulate in your joint, causing the inflammation and intense pain of a gout attack. Urate crystals can form when you have high levels of uric acid in your blood.
Your body produces uric acid when it breaks down purines — substances that are found naturally in your body.
Purines are also found in certain foods, such as steak, organ meats, and seafood. Other foods also promote higher levels of uric acid, such as alcoholic beverages, especially beer, and drinks sweetened with fruit sugar (fructose).
Normally, uric acid dissolves in your blood and passes through your kidneys into your urine. But sometimes either your body produces too much uric acid or your kidneys excrete too little uric acid. When this happens, uric acid can build up, forming sharp, needlelike urate crystals in a joint or surrounding tissue that cause pain, inflammation, and swelling.
You’re more likely to develop gout if you have high levels of uric acid in your body. Factors that increase the uric acid level in your body include:
- Diet. Eating a diet rich in meat and seafood and drinking beverages sweetened with fruit sugar (fructose) increase levels of uric acid, which increases your risk of gout. Alcohol consumption, especially beer, also increases the risk of gout.
- Obesity. If you’re overweight, your body produces more uric acid and your kidneys have a more difficult time eliminating uric acid.
- Medical conditions. Certain diseases and conditions increase your risk of gout. These include untreated high blood pressure and chronic conditions such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and heart and kidney diseases.
- Certain medications. The use of thiazide diuretics — commonly used to treat hypertension — and low-dose aspirin also can increase uric acid levels. So can the use of anti-rejection drugs prescribed for people who have undergone an organ transplant.
- Family history of gout. If other members of your family have had gout, you’re more likely to develop the disease.
- Age and sex. Gout occurs more often in men, primarily because women tend to have lower uric acid levels. After menopause, however, women’s uric acid levels approach those of men. Men are also more likely to develop gout earlier — usually between the ages of 30 and 50 — whereas women generally develop signs and symptoms after menopause.
- Recent surgery or trauma. Experiencing recent surgery or trauma has been associated with an increased risk of developing a gout attack.
People with gout can develop more-severe conditions, such as:
- Recurrent gout. Some people may never experience gout signs and symptoms again. Others may experience gout several times each year. Medications may help prevent gout attacks in people with recurrent gout. If left untreated, gout can cause erosion and destruction of a joint.
- Advanced gout. Untreated gout may cause deposits of urate crystals to form under the skin in nodules called tophi (TOE-fie). Tophi can develop in several areas such as your fingers, hands, feet, elbows, or Achilles tendons along the backs of your ankles. Tophi usually aren’t painful, but they can become swollen and tender during gout attacks.
- Kidney stones. Urate crystals may collect in the urinary tract of people with gout, causing kidney stones. Medications can help reduce the risk of kidney stones.
During symptom-free periods, these dietary guidelines may help protect against future gout attacks:
- Drink plenty of fluids. Stay well-hydrated, including plenty of water. Limit how many sweetened beverages you drink, especially those sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup.
- Limit or avoid alcohol. Talk with your doctor about whether any amount or type of alcohol is safe for you. Recent evidence suggests that beer may be particularly likely to increase the risk of gout symptoms, especially in men.
- Get your protein from low-fat dairy products. Low-fat dairy products may actually have a protective effect against gout, so these are your best-bet protein sources.
- Limit your intake of meat, fish, and poultry. A small amount may be tolerable, but pay close attention to what types — and how much — seem to cause problems for you.
- Maintain desirable body weight. Choose portions that allow you to maintain a healthy weight. Losing weight may decrease uric acid levels in your body. But avoid fasting or rapid weight loss, since doing so may temporarily raise uric acid levels.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones wears down over time.
Although osteoarthritis can damage any joint, the disorder most commonly affects joints in your hands, knees, hips, and spine.
Osteoarthritis symptoms can usually be managed, although the damage to joints can’t be reversed. Staying active, maintaining a healthy weight and some treatments might slow the progression of the disease and help improve pain and joint function.
Osteoarthritis symptoms often develop slowly and worsen over time. Signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis include:
- Pain. Affected joints might hurt during or after movement.
- Stiffness. Joint stiffness might be most noticeable upon awakening or after being inactive.
- Tenderness. Your joint might feel tender when you apply light pressure to or near it.
- Loss of flexibility. You might not be able to move your joint through its full range of motion.
- Grating sensation. You might feel a grating sensation when you use the joint, and you might hear popping or crackling.
- Bone spurs. These extra bits of bone, which feel like hard lumps, can form around the affected joint.
- Swelling. This might be caused by soft tissue inflammation around the joint.
Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that cushions the ends of bones in your joints gradually deteriorates. Cartilage is a firm, slippery tissue that enables nearly frictionless joint motion. Eventually, if the cartilage wears down completely, the bone will rub on bone.
Osteoarthritis has often been referred to as a “wear and tear” disease. But besides the breakdown of cartilage, osteoarthritis affects the entire joint. It causes changes in the bone and deterioration of the connective tissues that hold the joint together and attach muscle to bone. It also causes inflammation of the joint lining.
Factors that can increase your risk of osteoarthritis include:
- Older age. The risk of osteoarthritis increases with age.
- Sex. Women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis, though it isn’t clear why.
- Obesity. Carrying extra body weight contributes to osteoarthritis in several ways, and the more you weigh, the greater your risk. Increased weight adds stress to weight-bearing joints, such as your hips and knees. Also, fat tissue produces proteins that can cause harmful inflammation in and around your joints.
- Joint injuries. Injuries, such as those that occur when playing sports or from an accident, can increase the risk of osteoarthritis. Even injuries that occurred many years ago and seemingly healed can increase your risk of osteoarthritis.
- Repeated stress on the joint. If your job or a sport you play places repetitive stress on a joint, that joint might eventually develop osteoarthritis.
- Genetics. Some people inherit a tendency to develop osteoarthritis.
- Bone deformities. Some people are born with malformed joints or defective cartilage.
- Certain metabolic diseases. These include diabetes and a condition in which your body has too much iron (hemochromatosis).
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that worsens over time, often resulting in chronic pain. Joint pain and stiffness can become severe enough to make daily tasks difficult.
Depression and sleep disturbances can result from the pain and disability of osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can affect more than just your joints. In some people, the condition can damage a wide variety of body systems, including the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, and blood vessels.
An autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body’s tissues.
Unlike the wear-and-tear damage of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of your joints, causing a painful swelling that can eventually result in bone erosion and joint deformity.
The inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis is what can damage other parts of the body as well. While new types of medications have improved treatment options dramatically, severe rheumatoid arthritis can still cause.
Signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may include:
- Tender, warm, swollen joints
- Joint stiffness is usually worse in the mornings and after inactivity
- Fatigue, fever, and loss of appetite
Early rheumatoid arthritis tends to affect your smaller joints first — particularly the joints that attach your fingers to your hands and your toes to your feet.
As the disease progresses, symptoms often spread to the wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, hips, and shoulders. In most cases, symptoms occur in the same joints on both sides of your body.
About 40 percent of the people who have rheumatoid arthritis also experience signs and symptoms that don’t involve the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect many non-joint structures, including:
- Salivary glands
- Nerve tissue
- Bone marrow
- Blood vessels
Rheumatoid arthritis signs and symptoms may vary in severity and may even come and go. Periods of increased disease activity, called flares, alternate with periods of relative remission — when the swelling and pain fade or disappear. Over time, rheumatoid arthritis can cause joints to deform and shift out of place.
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