World Autoimmune Arthritis Day

May 20, 2020

The pain and disability associated with autoimmune arthritis can affect a person's work and family life. Autoimmune Arthritis, is when a normal immune system that makes antibodies to fight infections, suddenly goes against you. This self-attack of immune response results in inflammation of the affected tissues in and around joints causing pain, swelling and stiffness. There are many forms of autoimmune- arthritis such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Juvenile Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, and many more. 
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Although, many symptoms are similar, Autoimmune Arthritis is different from Osteoarthritis, as in the later, cartilage in your joint wears away. What triggers this self-attack is not known. There's no cure for these diseases at the moment. 

Treatment includes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) & steroidal medications, such as prednisone to reduce inflammation and pain. Disease-modifying anti rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) can slow the progression of the disease and save the joints from permanent damage. The side-effects of the above medications cannot be ignored. 

Physical or occupational therapies have provided help to deal with day to day activities. Dietary supplements, home remedies, and lifestyle changes have been shown to positively help in autoimmune arthritis. Fish oils and certain plant oils such as primrose have proven beneficial. Hot-cold treatments too can reduce pain, swelling, and tension in muscles. Some exercise such as walking can help strengthen the muscles around your joints, however, check with your doctor before you start exercising. Lastly, managing stress is a big key to manage the symptoms of autoimmune arthritis.
Arthritis can leave you with feelings of helplessness and low self-esteem. To help you to cope with the disease, make a plan for managing your arthritis. Know your limits, rest when you're tired, take time for yourself. It's easy to get busy and not take time for yourself...