Disease Management / Senior Care

Rheumatoid Arthritis – Symptoms and Treatment

Rheumatoid Arthritis – Symptoms and Treatment

Dealing With the Chronic Pain of an Autoimmune Disorder

Although the cause of rheumatoid arthritis is still unknown, there are treatments that may bring relief to those who suffer with this painful disease. This type of arthritis creates swelling in the joint linings and can cause the joints to eventually become deformed. It is more than twice more common among women than men. Most people with rheumatoid arthritis start seeing the symptoms during middle age. Other risk factors include a family history of RA and smoking.

This disease may flare up at any time, with symptoms coming and going in the early stages. Since it is a systemic condition, it may also attack the organs. In order to maintain a normal lifestyle, it is important to have early diagnosis and treatment.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis

The symptoms may be intermittent during the early stages of this type of arthritis. It often starts in the hands, wrists and feet. As the disease advances, some of the larger joints, such as the knees, hip and shoulders, may suffer. The pain may be mild or excruciating.

Most people with rheumatoid arthritis experience more than one of the many symptoms:

  • swelling and pain in the joints
  • joint misalignment
  • arthritis symptoms in any of the organs
  • swollen and red hands
  • bumps on the arms, also known as rheumatoid nodules
  • stiffness after immobility
  • fatigue and fever
  • weight loss

The doctor will need to do a series of tests to determine if the problem is the result of rheumatoid arthritis. X-rays, an MRI, a joint ultrasound, a bone density test and blood tests will help in the diagnosis.

Medications for Arthritis SymptomsRheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

Since each person with this disease experiences a different combination of symptoms, most medical professionals prefer to treat each person on an individual basis. The more severe and varied the symptoms, the more aggressive the treatment may be. The primary attention will be on reducing fever, inflammation and pain, while attempting to halt the progression of the arthritis.

If someone has rheumatoid arthritis, it’s a good idea to see a rheumatologist, a physician who specializes in this disease. A family doctor will have the names of specialists.

The doctor will likely prescribe drugs to help treat the symptoms rheumatoid arthritis. Some of these may include:

  • NSAIDs – Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs, such as ibuprofen, ASPIRIN®, valdecoxib or celecoxib.
  • Analgesics – Drugs such as acetaminophen or propoxyphene may help with the pain, but they may not reduce the inflammation.
  • Prednisone – Low doses may help prevent further joint damage from the inflammation.
  • Anti-gout medications – Colchicine is usually prescribed for patients who have rheumatoid arthritis and gout flares at the same time.

According to the Arthritis Foundation website, other treatments for rheumatoid arthritis may include disease modifying antirheumatic drugs, biologic response modifiers or protein-A immuoadsorption therapy.

Acupuncture as alternative treatment for rheumatoid arthritisAlternative Treatments

Some people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis may find relief from alternative treatments. Some of these may include:

  • tai chi
  • acupuncture
  • biofeedback
  • stress management

Nutritional supplements may also help, but consult with the doctor because they may interfere with the prescribed medication. People having trouble with mobility may need to use crutches, braces, orthotics or other devices.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a difficult disease to contend with, since there are no known causes. However, with early diagnosis and treatment, the symptoms may subside enough for the sufferers to live a normal life.

Eye Health

Choosing between contact lenses and glasses

I have worn glasses for most of my life, and they never really bothered me. Being short-sighted I could still see at a close distance without wearing my glasses so I never really had a problem with them. That all changed a few years ago when I realized that I was actually terribly short-sighted and couldn’t do much without wearing my glasses, only then did I realize that wearing glasses was actually quite annoying at times and decided to inquire about contact lenses.

I was maybe sixteen years old the first time I asked my optician about getting contacts. She said that I was too young to wear lenses and that I would need to wait until my prescription settled. As I didn’t know any better I just thought I would need to live with glasses and never thought any more about it. That is until I changed my optician a year or two later, my new optician said that my age was not a factor however I have astigmatism and that would mean that I wouldn’t be able to see properly with the lenses that were available at the time, I didn’t want to sacrifice my good vision so I again thought I would have to live with glasses.

Recently I became aware of new lenses for all-day comfort that were designed for people like me who have astigmatism and thought I would give it a try, it took me a while to convince myself to do so but now nearly two months on I am so glad I did and I know I will never look back. Contact lenses have changed my life, sounds dramatic I know but they really have. I no longer have to clean my glasses constantly, walking in the rain is no longer the nightmare it once was and I have a much better field of vision than I had with glasses.

The biggest difference is that I am no longer suffering from the terrible headaches I have had for years. While I can’t say for sure that this is related to wearing contacts all I can say is that after years of almost constant headaches I have not had a single one since the day I first put my contacts in.

Contact lenses are not for everyone, some people are not suitable for wearing them and others just can’t put them in their eye. Some people have problems with wearing lenses as they find them uncomfortable, although if you follow your optician’s advice when you first start wearing them and build up your wear time you shouldn’t have a problem. I can wear my daily wear color contact lenses all day with no problem whatsoever but some people need to wear glasses for a few hours each day as they can’t wear their lenses all day.

The decision on whether to choose glasses or contact lenses is entirely an individual one. Glasses for many people are a fashion accessory and they quite enjoy wearing them. I just wasn’t one of those people, I decided that contact lenses would be best suited to me and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made.

Prenatal Care

Fish Oil Importance in Pregnancy

Fish Oil Importance in Pregnancy

Pregnancy requires that an expectant mother take good care of her health and nutrition. Health care professionals routinely prescribe prenatal vitamins as a form of prenatal health care both for the mother and the baby. Fish oils are another vitamin source that can benefit pregnant women. The omega-3 fatty acids found in this type of supplement is beneficial to the developing baby and growing mother.

Fish Oil Importance in Pregnancy - Fish Oil SupplementFish Oil as a Supplement in Pregnancy

Pregnant women are required to ensure that their diets are rich omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids – abundant in fish oil – contribute in the proper development of the baby. However, research findings suggest that only 2% of pregnant women meet this nutritional requirement and that a staggering 85% of pregnant females have diets low in the aforementioned fatty acids. Thus, they should take fish oil supplements for a healthier pregnancy.

Recommended Dosage of Fish Oil in Pregnant Women

The recommended daily dosage of fish oil by many nutritionists is 900mg. Taking fish oil supplements is necessary because it is difficult to meet the required dosage from the daily diet. If taking the capsules, be sure to buy the best quality fish oil supplements, since many of the cheaper versions may stem from fish that were not necessarily free of pollutants and contamination.

Fish Oil Importance in Pregnancy - BenefitsHealth Benefits from Fish Oil in Pregnancy

A wide range of health benefits exist for both the mother and the developing baby from fish oil. The mother has a reduced risk of developing pre-eclampsia or brain loss during pregnancy. She also has a lowered risk of preterm labor, c-section delivery, post-partum depression as well as breast cancer.

Fish oil helps aid in the development of a baby’s brain, leading to high intelligence. Better development of the central nervous system and retina eye formation is another benefit for the baby. After birth, studies have revealed babies who received fish oil supplements from their mother demonstrate less behavioral problems and a better sleep pattern. A study has also been conducted that shows children whose mothers took fish oil during their pregnancy scored higher on hand-eye coordination and vocabulary (Science Daily).

Other Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fish Oil Importance in Pregnancy - other fatty sources of fatty acids

Besides taking supplements, a pregnant woman can receive her daily omega-3, DHA and EPA need through fish consumption. Flaxseed is another food source of these nutrients. However, some doctors recommend against the intake of too much fish and taking flaxseed while pregnant. It is wise to consult a doctor first for optimal health.

Prenatal Care and Health

Pregnancy requires routine prenatal care in order to ensure both the baby and the mother fare well. Proper nutrition is extremely important for pregnant women, and taking a fish oil supplement alongside a prenatal vitamin can positively impact the pregnancy and developing baby.

Nutrition

Six Low-Calorie Vegetables That Taste Great with Pasta

Six Low-Calorie Vegetables That Taste Great With Pasta

Including pasta in your diet won’t lead to weight gain if you limit the amount you eat. To keep your pasta intake down, mix pasta with vegetables.

Many love pasta because it is delicious and satisfying. When eaten in moderation, it can be part of a healthy diet, but when eaten in excess amounts, it may lead to obesity and raise your risk for diabetes. Thanks to some tasty low-calorie vegetables that taste great with pasta, you can create healthy dishes that contain less pasta and healthy vitamins, minerals and fiber. Sauté any one of these six vegetables in olive oil, along with some finely chopped garlic, and combine the two ingredients with the pasta of your choice for a tasty treat. Use low-calorie pasta or low carbohydrate pasta if you want to reduce the calorie content of this dish even more.

Asparagus

Six Low-Calorie Vegetables That Taste Great With Pasta - Asparagus

Juicy and nutty in flavor, cooked asparagus contain only 30 calories per 3/4 cup serving. They are rich in vitamin A, and they contain vitamin C, calcium and iron. Before cooking asparagus, slice off the thick bottom portion of each spear and discard it since this part of the asparagus is usually tough to chew. Rinse the asparagus off and cut the stalks into 1 1/2 inch pieces before sautéing it.

Broccoli

Six Low-Calorie Vegetables That Taste Great With Pasta - Broccoli

Broccoli contains about 37.5 calories per 3/4 cup serving. It is a low-calorie vegetable that tastes somewhat like cabbage, but it is slightly bitter. Cooking broccoli will take away some of the bitterness. This vibrant green vegetable is a powerhouse of vitamin C, and it contains vitamin A, calcium and iron. If you like your vegetables on the soft side, briefly steam the broccoli prior to sautéing it.

Cauliflower

Six Low-Calorie Vegetables That Taste Great With Pasta - Cauliflower

Cauliflower is best described as a bland tasting vegetable. One 3/4 cup serving adds only 22.5 calories to your pasta dish and a significant amount of vitamin C and some iron. Cauliflower, like broccoli, should be steamed first, and then briefly sautéed before mixing it into the pasta.

Spinach

Six Low-Calorie Vegetables That Taste Great With Pasta - Spinach
Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that tastes like a mildly bitter lettuce, but not iceberg since spinach is not as juicy. Extremely rich in vitamin A and high in iron, this nutritious low-calorie vegetable also contains vitamin C and calcium. One 3/4 cup serving of cooked spinach contains 30 calories. To prepare fresh spinach for your pasta dish, cut off the stems and put the leaves in boiling water for about 3 minutes. Then drain it and sauté it in the oil.

Tomatoes

Six Low-Calorie Vegetables That Taste Great With Pasta - Tomatoes

Ripe tomatoes have a sweet flavor, and they are juicy. They contain about 30 calories per 3/4 cup serving and lots of vitamin C. Tomatoes also contain vitamin A and iron. Although there are a wide variety of tomatoes to choose from, you may want to use plum tomatoes since this variety is frequently used to make tomato sauce. Cut your plum tomatoes into bite size cubes before sautéing them in a pan of oil and garlic.

Zucchini

Six Low-Calorie Vegetables That Taste Great With Pasta - Zucchini

Zucchini is a summer squash that has a mild, fresh flavor. It is juicy when cooked and contains only 30 calories per 3/4 cup serving. This member of the squash family contains vitamins A and C, plus calcium and iron. Slice zucchini into 1/4-inch thick rounds before sautéing it and mixing it with the pasta. Check to see if it is cooked by sticking it with a fork. The fork should slide into the zucchini with no resistance.

Nutrition

Consider These Other Calcium Rich Foods in Your Diet

Consider These Other Calcium Rich Foods in Your Diet - milk
Milk and dairy foods don’t have to be the only source for your calcium needs. Other options are available to meet your required daily requirement (RDA).

Most of us equate obtaining enough calcium with consuming enough milk and other dairy products. What if your diet excludes these products? What other foods contain calcium?

Consider These Other Calcium Rich Foods in Your Diet - strong bonesImportance of Calcium

Calcium is a mineral and is the most abundant in the body. According to The New Becoming Vegetarian, ninety-nine percent of the body’s calcium is found in bones and teeth. It is calcium’s role to harden the bone. It takes approximately 20-30 years to reach maximum bone strength. After the age of 30, bone mass declines gradually. The amount of decline is dependent upon dietary habits, exercise, as well as hormonal balance.

Smaller functions, but still quite vital, of calcium include blood clotting, muscle relaxation, nerve cell message transmission, regulation of cell metabolism, as well as preventing hypertension.

Plant food options

Let’s break down some other options for obtaining adequate calcium in your diet:


Kale and other leafy vegetables

Consider These Other Calcium Rich Foods in Your Diet - kale

Look to various green plants for your dose of calcium: broccoli, Asian greens, collards, kale, okra, mustard greens and turnip greens. These choices actually have low amounts of oxylates, which are plant acids. This allows for higher absorption of the calcium; their absorption is actually higher than that of cow’s milk.

Sea vegetables

Consider These Other Calcium Rich Foods in Your Diet - seaweed

Hijiki, arame, and wakame are all forms of seaweeds and have high calcium content. Though not a common staple in the American household, they can be found in a dehydrated form in many Asian markets or specialty stores. Once rehydrated they can be added to soups, salads, and stir-fries. Consider a new experience.

Tofu

Consider These Other Calcium Rich Foods in Your Diet - tofu

Tofu is made from soy milk that has been injected with a coagulant. Calcium and magnesium are also added and can be one of the best sources for calcium in your diet.

Beans

Consider These Other Calcium Rich Foods in Your Diet - beans

All beans have some calcium, but the highest content of calcium can be found in white beans, black turtle beans, and soybeans.

Fortified beverages

The label of certain beverages will tell you if calcium has been added to the product. The most common household beverage fortified with calcium is the morning glass of orange juice. If the juice has been fortified, it will contain the same amount of calcium as a cup of cow’s milk. The calcium tends to settle to the bottom of the container, so shake it up before pouring.

Nuts, sesame seeds, and their butters

Consider These Other Calcium Rich Foods in Your Diet - almonds

Almonds are one of the best choices for calcium. An ounce of almonds contains 80 mg of calcium. Have you tried almond butter? It not only has good calcium content, but the taste is outstanding; use in place of peanut butter.

Cereals

Consider These Other Calcium Rich Foods in Your Diet - cereals

Many ready-to-eat cereals are fortified with calcium and may contain enough to meet the daily requirements. Check the nutritional label on your favorite brand of cereal.

Milk and dairy foods don’t have to be the only source for your calcium needs. Choose a variety of foods, some common, and some, not so common, to successfully achieve your recommended daily allowances.

Disease Management

Learn How to Lower Blood Sugar Naturally: Diabetes Life & Health

Learn How to Lower Blood Sugar Naturally - Diabetes Life & Health
In the human body, blood sugar rises and falls for various reasons, including diet, exercise, medication and supplements. After eating foods high in refined carbohydrates, blood sugar goes quickly upwards. In a healthy body, the pancreas releases insulin in response to the increasing levels of blood sugar, which lowers blood sugar to normal levels. In a diabetic, or pre-diabetic, insulin does not regulate blood sugar well, but diet, exercise and supplements can lower help maintain normal blood sugar levels.

What is Diabetes?

There are three known types of diabetes: namely juvenile diabetes or Type 1, adult-onset or Type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes or diabetes that occurs during pregnancy.
All types haves different causes, but the resulting high blood sugar is the same for each.

  • Gestational diabetes affects pregnant women, and often goes away once the baby is born.
  • Type 1 diabetics produce very little or no insulin, and are usually diagnosed in childhood.
  • People with type 2 diabetes don’t produce enough insulin to bring blood sugar down. Type 2 diabetes usually develops later in life, as the result of a poor insulin response.
  •  
    In addition to the three main types of diabetes, there are also people with a condition known as pre-diabetes. A pre-diabetic has borderline blood sugar levels that are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to qualify as diabetic.

    Diabetes Lifestyle Changes to Lower Blood Sugar Naturally

    Lifestyle Changes for Lowering Blood Sugar Naturally

    Simple lifestyle changes can make a difference in blood sugar levels. These general changes can help to lower blood sugar naturally:

  • Avoid foods that are high in refined carbohydrates, such as sugary desserts or white bread.
  • Eat foods high in fiber, to slow blood sugar rise after eating.
  • Start a moderate exercise program, to help keep blood sugar levels normal.
  •  
    Foods and Supplements that Lower Blood Sugar

    Learn How to Lower Blood Sugar Naturally

    There are some foods and supplements that can reduce blood glucose levels.

  • Stevia, a natural sweetener, lowers blood sugar levels. For more information about Stevia, read: Natural Sugar Substitutes: Stevia and Erythritol.
  • Green tea also lowers blood sugar levels, according to a 2004 Japanese study.
  • A 2003 study, published in Diabetes Care, shows that cinnamon also reduces blood glucose levels.
  •  
    Tip: Adding a cinnamon stick to a brewing cup of green tea, sweetened by stevia, improves the flavor, and combines the health benefits.
     
    Diabetic Testing and Treatment

    Diabetic testing and treatment should be supervised by a physician. Before making changes to diet or exercise level, or adding new supplements, diabetics should consult with their treating physician for optimum health and safety.

    Nutrition

    Super Health Foods That Boost Your Defences

    Super Health Foods That Boost Your Defences

    The key to good health and disease prevention is the food you eat every day. In order to have optimum health, you need to take particular vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. To enhance vitality, intelligence, beauty, and optimum health you require super nutrition.

    Use any of the following superfoods to build up your immune system and bolster your defences. They are easy to assimilate into your diet and go a long way to defend against many diseases, help you live life more abundantly, and improve complexion.

    Super Health Foods That Boost Your Defences - yogurt

    Yogurt. Researchers have found that yogurt can make your system more resilient, says Dolores Riccio US Dietician and author of Superfoods for Women. This probably due to its probiotic activity which helps to feed friendly bacteria in the gut, where half of your immune system is situated. In addition, yogurt contains an array of vitamins and minerals.

    Try to have a serving of yogurt everyday. You can use it in many different ways; spoon it over fruits for breakfast, starting the day with a healthy punch. Eat it as an individual pot or add it to a fruit smoothie.

    Super Health Foods That Boost Your Defences - brazil nuts
    Brazil Nuts. Brazil nuts are one of the best sources of the mineral selenium which is a super anti-cancer nutrient and is often lacking in modern day diets. Selenium is a trace mineral that is only needed in small amounts. Brazil nuts are an excellent choice for adding selenium to your diet and is the number one food providing 544 micrograms of selenium per ounce.

    Super Health Foods That Boost Your Defences - oyster mushroom

    Mushrooms. Oyster mushrooms are packed with potent phytochemicals called beta glucans, which stimuate the immune system and have anti-cancer properties. Shiitake and maitake are types of Japanese mushrooms that are high in beta glucans, and procini and morels are rich in antioxidants.

    Go to your local supermarket and find exotic mushrooms and then add them to stews, stir-fries, and sauces.

    Sweet Potatoes. These should be your first choice over the white potato or new potato. Sweet potatoes are high in beta carotene and vitamin C, two vital antioxidants. You can replace the standard white potato with these nutrient-rich potatoes and you can have them mashed, roasted, or baked. They are sweet and delicious and make a lovely sweet potato pie.

    Super Health Foods That Boost Your Defences - spinach

    Spinach. This vegetable contains 377% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A, an important immune booster. It also contains a wide range of antioxidants and minerals such as zinc and omega-3 fatty acids. It is recommended that you eat spinach in it raw state rather than cooked. Add baby spinach leaves to salads, sprinkle on soups or mix with tuna mayonnaise in a wholemeal sandwich for maximum effect.

    Super Health Foods That Boost Your Defences - pomegranate

    Pomegranate. Pomegranate has experienced a surge in popularity in recent times, and this is because it has been shown that it is unusually high in antioxidants, helping you fight off the free radicals that cause ageing and illness. Drink a glass of the juice every day as it contains the highest antioxidant content.

    These are a few of the life enhancing foods you should eat to bolster your defence system. For more information on superfoods, check out Superfoods for Women.