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PROPER NUTRITION – a fact of life to regain your health – Part 2

Cellular inflammation has been shown to be the underlying marker in nearly every major health problem.  Every single day our body is attacked by free radicals, cells are damaged, and inflammatory mediators are produced and triggered throughout our body.  Fortunately, the Almighty gave us an incredible ability to heal and regulate abnormal cell development.  He also provided us with a way of life to reduce and negate the negative effects of lifestyle stress.

These foods could help to reduce some aspect of inflammation:

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: The healthiest of fats for people with arthritis or other inflammatory disorders are omega -3 fatty acids. More than a dozen studies have demonstrated that omega-3 fish oils can drastically reduce symptoms of RA. It is recommended an omega-3-rich diet (and in some instances, fish-oil supplements) to all my clients with arthritis. Some of the best foods for omega-3 fatty acids include salmon (wild, fresh, or canned), herring, mackerel (not king), sardines, anchovies, rainbow trout, Pacific oysters, ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, seaweed, and soybeans (edamame).
  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: In addition to healthy monounsaturated fats, olive oil contains a natural compound called oleocanthal which may help prevent arthritis-related inflammation. These compounds block the same inflammatory pathways as ibuprofen and aspirin, medications commonly used to fight arthritis pain. It is recommended using olive oil when cooking instead of vegetable oil or butter (substitute in equal or lesser amounts). For the highest antioxidant content, choose “extra virgin” olive oil; the stronger the taste, the higher the amounts of oleocanthal the oil is likely to have.
  • Antioxidants — vitamin C, carotenes, bioflavonoids: Antioxidants protect the body from the effects of cell-damaging free radicals and are a critical part of an anti-inflammation diet. Research has also demonstrated that certain antioxidants may help prevent arthritis, slow its progression, and relieve pain. The best are: Vitamin C — found in guava, bell peppers, oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, pineapples, kohlrabi, papayas, lemons, broccoli, kale, potatoes, and brussels sprouts. Beta-carotene — found in sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, butternut squash, turnip greens, pumpkins, mustard greens, cantaloupes, sweet red peppers, apricots, and spinach. Beta-cryptoxanthin — found in winter squash, pumpkins, persimmons, papayas, tangerines, peppers (red chili and red bell), corn, oranges, apricots, carrots, nectarines, and watermelon. Quercetin — found in onions, kale, leeks, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, blueberries, black currants, elderberries, apricots, red apples with skin, and red/purple/black grapes. Anthocyanins — found in blackberries, black currents, blueberries, eggplant, raspberries, cherries, red/black/purple grapes, strawberries, plums, cranberries, rhubarb, red onions, and apples.
  • Vitamin D: Studies have shown that getting adequate amounts of vitamin D reduces the risk of both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Among people who already have osteoarthritis, those who have a vitamin D deficiency are more likely to develop worsening disability over time. Getting even the basic daily requirement of vitamin D leads to greater muscle strength, improvement in physical functioning, and preservation of cartilage. Some of the best foods for vitamin D include wild salmon, mackerel (not king), sardines, herring, milk (skim or 1 percent low-fat), soy milk, egg yolks, and UV-treated mushrooms.
  • Spices — ginger and turmeric: Certain spices seem to have anti-inflammatory effects and therefore should be considered for arthritis treatment. Among the most promising are ginger and turmeric. Ginger has been shown to lessen the pain of knee osteoarthritis when taken in highly purified, standardized supplement form. Scientific studies have shown that turmeric may help arthritis by suppressing inflammatory body chemicals. The research isn’t strong enough yet to support taking ginger or turmeric in supplement form, but it is highly encouraged adding generous amounts of these spices to food (they’ll add delicious flavor, too!).

The above information is collated from a lot of nutrition sessions I have attended or through various readings.

 

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RHEUMATIC DISEASE AWARENESS MONTH -SEPTEMBER

 OUR PLEDGE

As individuals living with rheumatic disease, Let us pledge to:

Exercise Regularly to reduce pain, improve joint function, and delay the onset of disability. To work with our doctors to find exercises that we can do to help me manage our health and get moving for at least 60 minutes each day.

2. Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet to reduce inflammation in our joints. We will eat a diet that is low in processed foods and saturated fat and high in fiber, fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts and beans.

3. Take Care of our Mental Health and confront our disease with an open mindset. We will work to manage our stress, get enough sleep and talk it out with our doctor.

4. Be an Active Participant in Self Care by practicing good self-management techniques to help identify the causes of flares, avoid triggers and/or catch them early when they happen and roll out our individual flare plan.

5. We pledge to follow our doctor’s recommended treatment plan and take all our medications as directed.

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PROPER NUTRITION- a fact of life to regain your health. – PART 1

Good nutrition is an important part of your overall health. A healthy diet allows the defense systems to work to its full capacity removing antigens that enter the system and removing immune-complexes from the blood. Healthy eating is not about strict dietary limitations, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. Rather, it’s about feeling great, having more energy, improving your health, and boosting your mood. If you as an arthritis patient feel overwhelmed by all the conflicting nutrition and diet advice out there, you’re not alone. It seems that for every expert who tells you a certain food is good for you, you’ll find another saying exactly the opposite. But by using simple commonsense and self-experimented tips, you can cut through the confusion and learn how to create—and stick to—a tasty, varied, and nutritious diet that is as good for your mind as it is for your body.

Specific food groups that are supposed to increase inflammation include:

  • Trans Fats: Trans fats were created by scientists to give baked goods a longer shelf life. Trans fats are thought to be at least as damaging as saturated fats in terms of inflammation and other health problems. They may even be worse. You won’t have to go to great lengths to determine whether a food contains trans fats or not. Manufacturers are now required to list the amount of trans fats right after listing the saturated fats on the nutrition label.
  • Saturated Fats: This category includes fats in and from animal products, such as fatty meat, poultry skin, and full fat dairy foods. Saturated fats are also found in palm oil and palm-kernel oil, which you may find in the ingredient lists of any number of items on your shelves, including crackers, cookies, bars, nondairy creamers, and other packaged baked goods. We should try to dramatically limit our intake. In addition to carefully reading labels, choose reduced-fat or fat-free dairy products, lean cuts of meat, and skinless chicken.
  • Simple and Refined Carbs: Sugary foods, white-flour baked goods, white rice, bread, crackers, refined carbs increase the inflammation in the body, causing increases in pro-inflammatory compounds.

Suggest try and limit these foods if you want the best chance of reducing arthritis pain and limiting its progression. We are all aware but the internal discipline to get started, trying experimenting and implementing is the initial hurdle, just ignite it within and you will find your journey to wellbeing well aligned.

A healthy diet should include a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean proteins and healthy fats. This gives your body the nutrients and energy it needs to function properly.

Along with the use of medications, a proper diet can curb the inflammatory responses from the body that cause pain. Eating the right foods also helps you maintain a healthy weight, which is incredibly important since your hips and knees support most, if not all, of your body weight.

And a well-balanced diet also is vital for building your body’s immune system and healing power. That’s why nutrition can be your ally in fighting pain and inflammation. In short lifestyle modifications are very important for helping someone manage their pain. So go for it!

Next post coming up… foods that are supposed to reduce inflammation.

The above information is collated from a lot of nutrition sessions I have attended or through various readings.

 

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POSITIVELY CHALLENGING

POSITIVELY CHALLENGING

As mentioned in my introductory post I try not to be a quitter—or a complainer, even after having to live with pain day in day out for years. Determined not to focus on my “limitations,” I pushed myself at eating healthy and forced myself to keep moving and stay positive and ensured that I take the medications and supplements as prescribed.

My experience with RA has been hugely challenging – especially since I was a formerly ‘super-fit’ individual prior to the development of the condition.  But, I also look back on these experiences with a lot of gratitude as they have enabled me to experience RA across the spectrum – from the very worst case scenario – right through to full, and sometimes sustainable remission thanks to biological therapies along with healthy lifestyle approaches.

My efforts and optimism certainly paid off. “I definitely felt hopeful!”

I think that living with RA brings out the fighter in us. After living with RA for 15 years plus, I am more resilient than I ever knew. I have also learned to pick my battles, I know when I can try and get away with doing something or when I need to let RA win for a day or two by just resting it out.

Most of us experience RA as a constant background reality, often being aware of its presence & the limitations it brings. Our focus should be all about micromanaging & macro managing their symptoms & daily life so that it remains in the background & does not interfere much with our daily lives.

We should listen to our body and do not take it for granted and ignore the signs and symptoms. Put the brakes on time on our simple arthritic road journey, I see this as servicing the car and keeping it in the garage so that when you feel up to it you are back on the road! These breaks are most vital for a pain free and self fulfilment life.

Giving in for a day or two is not the same as giving up…this is what I have worked hard on. Living with RA is not the end of the world. Yes, your world changes, you are not able to do a lot of things but you have to be willing to adapt and keep on living. Though don’t forget to laugh every day. I often laugh at myself from being clumsy, forgetting things or dropping things and these are my small laughter sessions with my family!

As I’ve shared a part of my journey with you, I realize it is exactly that: my own journey. Yours for sure is different but let’s not forget the one thing we all have in common is that we’re much robust than we give ourselves credit for. Time has made us connoisseurs at dealing with the rough stuff, right?

I call upon all to join me in embracing who we are as we move ahead, learning to take care of ourselves while we relish the many things that still bring us joy and happiness.

 

 

 

YOU SENSE THE SYMPTOMS, ACT SWIFTLY…DO NOT DELAY.

YOU SENSE THE SYMPTOMS, ACT SWIFTLY…DO NOT DELAY.

One thing I can vouch for is as with most ailments, early detection and diagnosis for RA are crucial for being able to treat symptoms, manage pain, and slow progression.  In my case an early diagnosis of RA helped me with an individualized treatment plan so that I can continue living a good quality of life.

One should be on the lookout for specific symptoms, such as morning stiffness (particularly in the small joints of the hands or feet) that doesn’t dissipate within about 30 minutes after getting out of bed, joint pain on both sides of the body and warmth and redness around the joints and the swelling, and stiffness along with fatigue, muscle pain weakness and worse joint stiffness after sleeping or prolonged sitting. Getting in and out of bed, bathing and drying yourself, running errands or doing chores, turning faucets on and off, tying shoelaces and other simple and basic activities.

Personally I have seen diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis may be delayed or missed because early symptoms, such as fatigue, loss of appetite, muscle aches, and weakness, can develop slowly. They can also be easily attributed to other conditions, such as aging, excessive exercise, general malaise, influenza.

Some people seek medical attention only once the symptoms of RA start to have an impact on their daily activities, especially work. However, only seeking help once symptoms are severe enough to have an impact might lead to significant delays. Some might further want to try self-managing the symptoms first (e.g. using over the counter painkillers). If they wait to see whether their own remedies have an effect first, this again might mean delays of weeks or months. A lot of well-wishers advise a barrage of coping strategies and this results in a loss of peak treatment time.

The root of this delay is a widespread lack of knowledge. People with symptoms do not recognize that they might be suffering from the disease or what the consequences of delaying going to a doctor might be.

Another contributing factor I feel is people go to visit GPs who may not be well-informed about the disease and so not adept at picking it out from the hundreds of other musculoskeletal conditions they see, leading to repeat visits from patients and delay in referring them to a rheumatologist/specialist for a diagnosis.

For sure it’s not the patients fault but yes in today’s day and age ailment awareness is crucial for wellbeing for self and family!

Let’s share more information and personal experiences and spread the awareness mission far and wide.

A few basics of Rheumatic Disease

A few basics of Rheumatic Disease

Rheumatic diseases are characterized by inflammation that affects the connecting or
supporting structures of the body — most commonly the joints, but also sometimes the
tendons, ligaments, bones, and muscles. Some rheumatic diseases even affect the organs.
These diseases can ultimately cause loss of function in those body parts.
There are more than 100 rheumatic diseases which exist.
Here are a few of the rheumatic diseases described in just a line:

  • RA- Rheumatoid Arthritis: This rheumatic disease destroys the lining of joints, causing
    swelling, pain, and stiffness throughout the body.
  • JIA-Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: This is one of the most common arthritis in
    childhood, this disease causes pain, swelling, and loss of joint function. Symptoms
    may also include fevers and rashes.
  • AS- Ankylosing Spondylitis: is the most common of the spondyloarthropathies —
    rheumatic diseases that specifically affect the spine — this often occurs in young
    adults.
  • OA- Osteoarthritis: The most common type of arthritis, this rheumatic disease
    destroys cartilage and bone, causing pain and disability.
  • PA- Psoriatic Arthritis: A form of arthritis that occurs in people with the skin disorder
    psoriasis, this painful disease affects joints of the fingers and toes, creating noticeable
    changes in fingernails and toenails.
  • IA-Infectious Arthritis: Some forms of arthritis are caused by viral or bacterial
    infections. Lyme disease results from the bite of a tick carrying specific bacteria, and
    it may cause inflammation, pain, and stiffness of joints.
  • Reactive Arthritis: This rheumatic disease, known as Reiter’s syndrome, is another
    spondyloarthropathy. Often, it's triggered by an infection in the bowels, urinary tract,
    or other organs. Symptoms include skin rashes, eye problems, and sores on the
    mouth
  • Fibromyalgia: This rheumatic disease attacks the muscles and tendons that support
    joints, causing pain, stiffness, and problems sleeping.
  • Gout: This disease is characterized by uric acid crystals in the joints — often the big
    toe that cause episodes of swelling and pain.
  • Lupus: Formally called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), this rheumatic disease is
    also an autoimmune disease. Lupus attacks the body’s own healthy cells and tissues,
    causing damage to joints and organs.
  • Scleroderma: The body produces too much collagen, the fibrous material that
    supports the structure of skin and other organs, in this rheumatic disease.
    Scleroderma also affects joints and blood vessels.

LET’S USE FOOD TO RECLAIM OUR WELLNESS

LET’S USE FOOD TO RECLAIM OUR WELLNESS

We as arthritic warriors are always interested in alternative treatments to relieve our enervating condition. My interest in dietary interventions has always been spiraling upwards!  I genuinely believe that one should promulgate diet therapy for Arthritic patients alongside the regular DMARDs and anti-TNFs that are provided for effective management.

The debate that food can cause or relieve arthritis isn’t new. More recently, some health writers have insisted that arthritics should eat or not eat specific foods.

A great deal of discussion as to whether foods ameliorate or perpetuate arthritis, or have any effect at all is hot topic for discussions at forums, support groups.

But through the years I have seen there is a wealth of data supporting the positive impact of food in assisting to decrease or atleast maintain the disease activity. I have been reading a lot and understand the positive effects of nutrients on our immunity and inflammation levels.

We should work to educate and capacitate ourselves with the benefits of eating more vegetarian/vegan diets, eliminate potentially allergic food components, and introduce more poly unsaturated fatty acid/oleic acid/synbiotics in our diet plans. Considering that these foods are not as expensive as any regular therapeutics, they can be easily incorporated for people from any economical background. Personally over the years I have noticed spices like turmeric, ginger, fresh fruits and vegetables and legumes especially the green ones do make me feel better as compared to when I eat processed or high salt, animal products,

A better patient compliance is very crucial for effective care and management of Arthritis.

I will conclude by saying that it may not cure the patients; however, an effective incorporation of these food items in our daily food plan will help to reduce the disease activity, delay disease progression, and reduce joint damage, and eventually a decreased dose of drugs administered for therapeutic treatment of patients.

Will share some interesting food diet recipes, tips, tricks and inspiration which are tried and tested by myself and shared by others… so watch out for the upcoming articles for a healthier, happier you!

Remember: True healthcare reform starts in your kitchen, not in any country’s capital!

BE A PART OF SUPPORT GROUPS

BE A PART OF SUPPORT GROUPS

I have realized that seclusion is damaging to our health and it can be very easy to seclude ourselves when we constantly feel sick and sulky. Supportive friendships and relationships are fundamental to your wellbeing when you suffer from a chronic illness. Finding supportive and nurturing friendships is not a simple task especially when one is perpetually sick. This is something that does not happen overnight but your willpower alone will help you to grow friendships with likeminded people who are aware of the extent of your situations and also share your common interests. Finding a group of people who understand what you’re experiencing, who understand what it’s like to live with chronic illness and chronic pain, can be an excellent way to find the inner strength to face the challenge of your condition and live a fuller life

If you have a chronic illness such as arthritis, you know that dealing with chronic pain and other symptoms can often feel like an uphill battle. Some of you may find that your friends and family don’t fully understand what you’re going through, or may not feel comfortable talking openly with them. It can be tempting to shut yourself off and stay inside, and some days you may not even want to get out of bed. Unfortunately that kind of thinking only adds to your pain.

Being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis can be both emotionally and practically challenging. Listening to others who have experienced similar situations is often re-assuring and can be helpful for you. So choose the good ones, and if you don’t have a support system, start cultivating one now. I vouch for it that it will help you tenfold as you deal with your medical problems. Just make sure you let the right people and the right energy in to your inner circle.

For the last 4 years I am a part of a Support Group and have to admit its added so much of meaning and purpose to my life. The group meets to learn and practice breathing, movement, and along with this we meet and share our conditions without any judgement and I have always felt the warmth of love and caring. We are women who have an indirect forum to talk about our struggles with people who understand what we are going through.  We share our personal experiences and feelings, coping strategies or firsthand information about our disease and treatments. We share insight and perspectives about the variety of treatments we have tried. Last but not least, we are women of different ages and walks of life, who were once strangers, have now become friends for life and celebrate small joys together.  We all have something in common with each other. Because we understand each other and what it is like to undergo the pain, we all are always willing to help and support one another.

Thank you my girl gang for being there for me ..my angels !

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September is Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month

September is Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month

Coincidently with the launch of my website, September is Rheumatic Disease Awareness month…so here we are supporting it.

In a year some set months are dedicated to provide recognition and propagation of awareness of different diseases.

The purpose of Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month

RDAM was launched just last year by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), the leading association representing rheumatologists and rheumatology healthcare professionals, and their public awareness campaigns.

We at RA+ve support the intent of this awareness campaign which is to improve the public’s understanding of rheumatic diseases, like RA and others, and to advance the health and wellbeing of the millions of living with these diseases in the world.

The theme of RDAM is “Hundreds of Diseases, One Voice.” This encourages us to work together, speak as one voice, and to help educate the public about the realities of rheumatic diseases and what it’s like to live with one.

This month lets support this awareness. So what can you do to help promote awareness during September? For starters, share this article with your friends and family.

If we truly act as one voice, we can encourage more understanding and compassion for people living with rheumatic diseases – which will improve the lives of millions just like us.