The First Diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis

The first time I got diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis I was 22. I was not sure what the doctor was talking about, so I ignored it. I thought: "with a matter of days it will disappear." I was wrong. 8 years later the rheumatoid arthritis is here, but not as strong as it once was. The road has been difficult, but when you have the mentality prepared to face it all, everything changes.

Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis

According to the Arthritis Foundation, “the immune system mistakes the body’s cells for foreign invaders and releases inflammatory chemicals that attack, in the case of RA, the synovium.” This process is central to understanding rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune condition where the immune system, instead of safeguarding the body, attacks its own tissues. This misdirected immune response leads to inflammation in the synovium, the lining of the membranes that surround the joints.

The inflammation caused by this autoimmune attack can lead to the thickening of the synovium, which can eventually destroy the cartilage and bone within the joint. The tendons and ligaments that hold the joint together weaken and stretch. As a result, the joint loses its shape and alignment, leading to pain and decreased mobility.

The CDC estimates that, in the United States, 23% of adults, slightly more than 54 million people, have a type of arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is just one form, characterized not only by the severity of joint symptoms but also by the presence of certain markers in blood tests, which can include elevated levels of antibodies like rheumatoid factor (RF) and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP).

Challenges in Finding a Cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and pain in some, if not all, joints of the body. Despite advances in treatment, finding a cure remains a significant challenge due to the complexity of the disease and its variability among patients. Each case of RA can differ greatly, and what works for one person might not be effective for another, making personalized treatment plans crucial.

Exploring Alternative treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

My Journey with Holistic and Alternative Medicine

My path of self-healing began in August 2020. I decided to try another type of medicine: Holistic and Alternative Medicine. I start first by getting to my body. Sounds weird, right? I know it does. Trust me, once you start getting to know your body, you know what your body needs to start healing. What makes me feel tired? What food gives me energy? What food/situation causes inflammation? Those questions helped me understand that my body has been talking to me all along and I haven’t listened. Once you are aware and conscious that the body knows how to heal itself, you will see hope.

Personal Experiences with Various Methods

Even though each body is different, it is worth trying different alternative solutions that contribute to easing the pain of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Here are some I have tried myself, and it has helped me:

  1. Wake up with positive affirmations: The first thought that pops into your head when you wake up can shape your day. When I wake up, I try, for the most part, to speak to myself with positive attitudes such as: "I am strong, I am a warrior, I can do everything."
  2. Hot Showers: I like to wake up early in the morning and take a 20-minute hot bath. The steam and hot water help wake me up and relax a little more in the mornings.
  3. Tai – Chi: Usually Tai-Chi in the morning helps with stiffness and helps open up my joints. It doesn't require a lot of movement and it's a slow art, especially if your joints hurt.
  4. Gold Zumba: If you love dancing and music, Gold Zumba can be very easy to follow along and it is a low-impact fitness class.
  5. Wim Hof breathing techniques: Breathing not only helps us to be aware, but it will also help us bring oxygen to our brain. At first, it was difficult to follow, but over time it helped control my anxiety and regulate the pain in my joints.

Further Activities for Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis

While that's just a small list of what I like to do to ease my Rheumatoid Arthritis pain and help my body heal, there are so many more things we can incorporate into our journey. The important thing is to learn to know ourselves and to try everything that can help us. I have also done swimming, personal training, yoga, cold showers, and more.

Never Give Up: The Continuous Fight Against Rheumatoid Arthritis

The Power of Perseverance

Do not give up. No matter what your journey is, or how you decide to deal with your Rheumatoid Arthritis pain, with regular medicine or alternative medicine, there is always light at the end of the road.

Hope is a powerful tool in the journey towards healing.

rheumatoid arthritis Frequently Asked Questions

The first signs of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can vary widely but commonly include joint pain, swelling, and stiffness, especially in the small joints of the hands and feet. These symptoms are often worse in the morning or after periods of inactivity. Some people may also experience fatigue, loss of appetite, and a low-grade fever.

The exact cause of RA is unknown, but it is believed to be triggered by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Potential triggers include genetic predisposition, infections, smoking, and hormonal changes.

Managing RA typically involves a combination of treatment strategies including medications, physical therapy, exercise, diet, and stress management to reduce inflammation, relieve symptoms, and prevent joint and organ damage.

RA progresses in stages:

  1. Early Stage: Swelling of the synovial lining, causing joint pain and stiffness.
  2. Moderation Stage: Inflammation starts damaging the cartilage, reducing movement.
  3. Severe Stage: Pannus formation severely damages cartilage and bone, leading to deformity.
  4. End Stage: Inflammatory process ceases but significant joint damage and deformity remain.

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