1% of the population is affected by Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), with women outnumbering men by three.
It is a chronic inflammatory condition that can affect the whole body, but mainly targets the synovial membranes of the joints including ankles, feet, knees, hands and wrists.
The signs involved in RA are joint stiffness and vague joint pain that evolves into painful swollen joints for weeks at a time. Fatigue and low grade fever, as well as weight loss and weakness is also involved. The joints tend to be warm and tender and the skin above them can be discoloured with a red-purple colour. As the disease progresses, the joints begin to deform.
It can begin at any age, with the average age group being 20-40 year olds.
It is usually a gradual onset, and is symmetrical (both hands or both feet), but in 1/3 of RA cases, it is concentrated on one or few joints only.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune mediated condition, unlike osteoarthritis, which is age related degeneration, in RA there are antibodies produced by the body that attack joint tissues.
A diagnosis involves meeting certain criteria including morning stiffness, pain or tenderness with motion of the joint, swelling, less than 3 month relief between pain, changes that are evident with radiography, and positive blood markers for Rheumatoid Factor.
The Newcastle naturopaths at CK Health are experienced in treating clients with RA.
Diet is indicated as both a cause and “cure” for RA. With evidence that people consuming a Western style diet have higher rates of the disease. Improving digestion, removing inflammatory foods, eliminating food allergies and increasing nutrients is a natural approach that supports healing.
We can support you in a therapeutic fast or changing your diet to reduce RA flares and promote healing. There is some evidence to suggest that a vegetarian raw diet can greatly reduce RA symptoms.
Natural treatment involves eliminating and reducing as many of the contributing factors as possible, supporting symptom relief and promoting a return to function by supporting cellular health and mitochondrial function.
If medication is used such as methotrexate or steroids, naturopathic supplements can help to help reduce symptoms. These can range from headaches, hair loss, stomach issues or a reduction in bone density. Supplements can help by supporting your bodies nutrients that these medications deplete. So, if you are on medication already, we can utilise herbs or nutritional supplements safely to help reduce side effects and support the healing of the underlying cause of the RA.
In any autoimmune condition we look very closely at gut health. With alterations in microflora linked to RA, testing your gut microbiome and working to bring it to balance can be a really useful treatment strategy. With improvements in RA linked with changes in the colon health, in particular some microbes in the gut are a known trigger of RA development. If we can eradicate these microbes we can often see an improvement in symptoms and a slowing of disease progression.
Supplements can also be utilised to support symptom relief such as PEA or devils claw for pain, turmeric and essential fatty acids to reduce inflammation. As always, any supplements are prescribed based on your personal situation and are used at therapeutic doses with ultra pure quality practitioner brands used.
Using an infrared sauna has been shown to reduce pain and discomfort in RA and we have a beautiful 3 seater sauna in our clinic in Merewether that you can lay down and stretch out in while the Infrared waves do their work.
Living with the day-to-day pain of RA is draining, not only physically, but on your mental health too.
Let us help you improve your quality of life and manage this condition naturally.
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