If you have arthritis or take medications to treat it, a cough, fever or fatigue may be signs of infection. That’s because you may be more vulnerable to infections than the general population, says Dee Dee Wu, MD, a rheumatologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Paramus, New Jersey. Plus, infections can become serious, so treating them promptly is important.
People with autoimmune disease such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are more likely to get dangerous blood clots during hospital stays. In fact, one 2014 Arthritis Research & Therapy meta-analysis of 25 studies found that people with inflammatory rheumatic diseases were three times more likely to experience venous thromboembolisms (VTEs, or blood clots in the veins) than the general population.
Lupus patients are four times more likely than people without an autoimmune disease to develop blood clots when hospitalized. And RA patients are one-and-a-half times more likely to develop blood clots during a hospital stay. According to a 2011 study from researchers in the United Kingdom, anyone with an immune-related disorder faces some sort of increased risk.
Arthritis is much more than a disease plaguing the elderly – it’s the No. 1 cause of disability in the U.S. and impacts more than 50 million Americans, including 300,000 children. It’s smart to learn about this common but painful disease. Do you think you know about arthritis? Test yourself with these arthritis myths and learn the facts.
Continue reading Debunking Common Myths About Arthritis
Fibromyalgia, an example of a central pain syndrome, is a chronic health condition characterized by symptoms like widespread muscle pain, fatigue, memory problems and mood changes. Many people with fibromyalgia complain that sleep – or lack thereof – is one of the most frustrating challenges of living with fibromyalgia.
Continue reading Fibromyalgia and Sleep
Fibromyalgia – an example a central pain syndrome – is a chronic health condition characterized by symptoms of widespread muscle pain, fatigue, memory problems and mood changes. As in many chronic diseases, fibromyalgia symptoms can come and go and vary in intensity. Continue reading Fibromyalgia Flares: Symptoms, Triggers and Treatment
In a perfect world, pain wouldn’t exist, our weight would be optimal and we’d enjoy daily exercise and have energy to spare. But the world is not perfect, and sometimes our bad habits get in the way of our best intentions to live a healthy life. You can make small changes toward adopting a healthier lifestyle and reducing your arthritis symptoms. Along with adopting the healthy habits in our previous blog post, make an effort to break these 5 unhealthy habits.
- Eating over-processed foods.
Sugar and white flour – and the overabundance of them in processed foods – can lead to weight gain, which is hard on sore joints. Replace them with fruits, nuts and whole grains. A good rule of thumb, says Rachel Brandeis, a registered dietitian in Atlanta, is to indulge in foods with fewer than 10 grams of sugar and more than 3 grams of fiber per serving. You’ll feel full on less and prevent weight gain. Continue reading 5 Bad Habits to Drop for Better Arthritis Management
Everybody’s more prone to getting sick when chilly weather brings people – and their airborne, surface-clinging germs – closer together. But those with inflammatory types of arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis, face added risk. That’s because both the disease and certain therapies to treat it – like biologics and corticosteroids – interfere with the normal workings of the immune system.
This also makes you more vulnerable to complications like pneumonia if you do fall ill, says Ruchi Jain, MD, rheumatologist in White Plains, N.Y.
To build your defenses, brush up on cold- and flu-fighting know-how:
The fall season calls for tailgates, backyard barbecues and picnics in the park. But these festive occasions can also set the stage for food poisoning, especially if you have an autoimmune disease. Here’s how to stay safe.
“Bacteria breed faster in warm temperatures,” says Ben Chapman, PhD, an assistant professor and food safety specialist at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. “And there’s a greater risk for contamination when you prep and eat food outside.”
People with autoimmune forms of arthritis may be particularly susceptible. Their disease and some medications, including disease-modifying drugs and corticosteroids, can weaken the immune system, making it harder to fight off harmful bacteria.