Integrative Approach for Inflammation and Arthritis
If you are diagnosed with an inflammatory arthritis like RA and similar problems, you may need to be on medications but if you are concerned about side effects an integrative approach may offer a balanced treatment plan.
Immune system is our defense system and protects us from day to day threats such as infections and fights against serious cancers. Unfortunately, in some cases our body is exposed to unwanted environmental triggers and infections which can activate our immune system. This activation process can become uncontrolled if the person has prolonged active infection or has persistent exposure to culprit agents.
This activated immune response leads to changes in our defense cells and the start producing chemicals called cytokines, which are part of the pathologic immune response. These cytokines lead to unwanted inflammation and damage in our body tissues. These markers of inflammation can be tested in blood of patients with autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, and Scleroderma etc. CRP and ESR are common tests done to identify inflammation in the body.
Over the last decade, extensive research has concluded that many chronic conditions such as asthma, heart disease and dementia also have inflammation in the background as contributor factor for the origin and severity of these diseases. Over the last few years it has also become evident that environmental and nutritional factor play a major role inflammation and its effects on our genes. Studies have also found out that there are natural solutions available to slow the inflammatory process occurring in our body.
Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common autoimmune arthritis affecting 1% population. Rheumatoid factor and anti CCP are antibodies help in confirming diagnosis. Integrative therapy has very promising role in controlling inflammation seen in rheumatoid arthritis and similar autoimmune conditions such as Psoriatic arthritis, Ankylosing spondylitis and Systemic lupus erythematosis.
Integrative approaches can help us become stronger and keep inflammation at minimum. Introducing anti-inflammatory nutrition and healthy lifestyle is the cornerstone for stopping inflammation. Incorporating nutritional supplements can also help reduce inflammation and stabilize immune system through regulation of immune system.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a difficult disease, and no alternative approach solves it easily. Even if you choose to use alternative methods, you should maintain regular visits to a rheumatologist to watch for serious complications.
Exercise and dietary changes are now considered the most important game changers to control chronic inflammation. A study in England revealed that middle aged men and women who increased their exercise were able to lower their levels inflammatory markers, CRP and IL-6. Another study looked at 10 year follow up of more than 4000 men and those with at least 2.5 hours a week of moderate to vigorous exercise routine had significantly lower levels of both CRP and IL-6.
Coffee and smoking: High consumption of coffee is linked to rheumatoid arthritis. Cessation of tobacco use is been found helpful in reducing RA disease activity.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids: There is been an increasing amount of scientific data supporting use of omega-3 fatty acids obtained from cold-water fish such as salmon and sardines. A study over 500 participants, supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids showed significantly reduced symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Tree nuts such as walnuts and almonds are also rich in omega 3 FA, plant source of omega 3 include flaxseeds.
Botanicals and Herbs: Green tea extract (EGCG), Curcumin (turmeric), Quercetin, Ginger, Devil's claw, Boswellia are herbs with anti inflammatory properties. A clinical trial of 81 people with rheumatoid arthritis found significant reductions in swelling and pain over the course of 3 months with Boswellia. Similar studies have been reported with other herbs. Devil's claw showed a significant decrease in pain intensity and an improvement in mobility.
Antioxidants and Folic Acid: Vitamin E as mixed tocopherols, Vitamin C, Selenium should be part of your nutritional support. Individuals taking the drug Methotrexate for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis may benefit by taking folic acid supplements. Folate appears to reduce Methotrexate side effects, including mouth sores, nausea, and liver inflammation.
Mineral and Vitamins: Daily dose of multivitamins, Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin D jas been shown to improve bone and general health.
Probiotics: A number of studies suggest that various probiotics can enhance immune function and help reduce gut inflammation which is now thought to provoke body's inflammation.
Need a personalized advice for arthritis and inflammation related conditions: Meet Dr Farhan Tahir MD,FACR who is triple board certified in Internal Medicine, Rheumatology and Integrative Medicine; Rheumatology Care Consultants, PLLC with locations in Yardley and Blue Bell, PA. email us: firstname.lastname@example.org, call: 267-685-6070 or visit www.RheumPA.com.