Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease. Like other immune diseases, Rheumatoid arthritis can be put into remission.
By Dawn Flemming
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that is characterized by chronic inflammation of the joints and other areas in the human body. This is where the body attacks itself where it mistakes the body’s tissues for foreign or invasive substances. Although the immune system primarily attacks the joints, other areas of the body, including organs, may be damaged as a result of the inflammation. Among other things, RA symptoms include joint pain, swollen joints, limping while walking, fever, fatigue, loss of joint function.
Although RA is a chronic disease, it is characterized by flares and remissions, much like other autoimmune disorders such as ulcerative colitis. Although there is no cure for RA, there are a series of guidelines that may help induce remission or keep it for longer periods of time.
How To Define Remission
Remission may mean different things to people. For some people it is a total absence of symptoms, and for others it may be mild non-debilitating symptoms. A flare up, or a relapse, is when symptoms which were previously under control make a come back, thus reducing the quality of life and bringing back the damage to one’s joints. People often relapse when they stop medication or their bodies stop responding properly to them. Yet there are ways to induce and/or maintain remission for longer periods of time.
- Altering medication, or combining medications (always under the supervision and recommendation of your doctor) can help.
- Rest and exercise may also help.
- Since RA is an autoimmune disorder, proper nutrition is also important. This means avoiding sugar and processed foods, and consuming healthy - preferably low card foods - such as greens instead.
- Having a proper intake of Vitamins D is important for proper immune function.
- Finally, mental stress is a key component in many autoimmune disorders. Managing your stress can help you achieve and maintain RA remission.
Dawn Flemming is Director of Business Services at Geriatric In-Home Care in Fresno, California.