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Rheumatoid Arthritis: NHS on common signs and symptoms

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The Arthritis Foundation says that eating leafy green vegetables can help manage the condition. The reason for this is because they are high in antioxidants such as vitamin A, C, and K.

This advice is reflected in scientific findings on the impact of antioxidants on the body. One study published in 2014 in the Journal of Preventive Medicine suggested that antioxidants could help manage symptoms.

The authors concluded: “Our findings showed that antioxidants may improve disease activity significantly, but it did not affect the number of painful and swollen joints and increased erythrocyte antioxidant levels. Antioxidants may be useful for controlling clinical outcomes and oxidative stress in RA.”

Meanwhile, another study published in 2019 found suggested leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach increased levels of beta-carotene, a key source of vitamin A.

Furthermore the research, published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, found that beta-carotene could help reduce levels of C-reactive protein, does pristiq work for anxiety one which can lead to acute inflammation.

As a result, some studies suggest that leafy green vegetables can help alleviate symptoms of arthritis through dietary means.

Alongside charities, the NHS also highlights the benefits of a healthy diet in managing arthritis. It advises: “It’s very important to eat a healthy balanced diet if you have arthritis. Eating healthily will give you all the nutrients you need and help you maintain a healthy weight.”

The reason for the NHS’s emphasis on a healthy weight is because carrying excess weight means extra weight and pressure on the joints affected by arthritis.

One of the best ways to lose this weight is through exercise. While this may not be the most attractive thing to engage in with painful joints, the act of exercising can help reduce and prevent pain from recurring.

The NHS says: “As long as you do the right type and level of exercise for your condition, your arthritis won’t get any worse. Combined with a healthy, balanced diet, regular exercise will help you lose weight and place less strain on your joints. Your GP can recommend the type and level of exercise that’s right for you.”

What are other ways to manage arthritis?

Other ways to manage the condition include joint care; examples of this include using larger joints as levers such as putting pressure through your shoulder to open a door rather than the hand.

Using several joints to spread the weight of an object is also recommended by the NHS as one of the ways to engage in joint care. If working at a desk, it adds it is “also important to avoid sitting in the same position for long periods of time and to take regular breaks so you can move around”.

What are the main types of arthritis?

The two most common forms of arthritis in the UK are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of the condition in the UK, mainly affecting people in their mid-40s and above.

The condition is more often found in women and people with a family history of the condition. Despite this, the NHS warns that the disease can develop “at any age as a result of an injury or be associated with other joint-related conditions, such as gout”.

Meanwhile, rheumatoid arthritis is the less common form of the condition. It often begins when someone is between the ages of 30 and 50 years old.

In contrast to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition, one which occurs when the body’s immune system attacks joints leading to the associated pain and swelling.

What can cause arthritis?

Arthritis can be caused for a number of reasons. In the case of osteoarthritis, it can be caused by:
• Joint injury
• Other conditions
• Age
• Family history
• Obesity
• Being a woman.

Usually arthritis can be caused in the aftermath of an injury because the joint has been overused and not given enough time to heal.

Furthermore, other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout can lead to the development of osteoarthritis; this is also known as secondary arthritis.

Should someone be diagnosed with arthritis, there are several options open in regards to management via the NHS.

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