High-intensity interval training (HIIT) tops the American College of Sports Medicine’s list of most popular workouts. According to a small study published in Arthritis Research & Therapy, it might be just the ticket for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), too.
HIIT is an aerobic, heart-pumping form of exercise where short bursts of maximum effort, usually lasting from 20 to 60 seconds, alternate with less intense recovery periods. Studies suggest that HIIT is as effective at burning calories and improving heart and lung health as steady-state exercises like running or biking. One 2018 meta-analysis found that HIIT was significantly better than moderately intense steady exercise for patients with heart disease.
Only a few small studies have looked at HIIT for people who have RA. On the whole, they showed that participants lost weight, gained muscle and improved their joint health without any increase in inflammation or pain. But researchers at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, wanted to learn more, including whether HIIT could improve disease activity and immune function.
Continue reading Interval Training: A HIIT for RA?
Meditation is good for your soul. Research shows it can also help ease pain caused by all types of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and osteoarthritis (OA).
For centuries, meditation has been used to help focus the mind and soothe the spirit. But scientific evidence suggests this ancient practice – particularly a modern form known as mindfulness meditation or mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) – offers a variety of health benefits, including relief for chronic joint pain and skin disorders like psoriasis.
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For some women with RA, pregnancy brings on an unexpected bonus: improved symptoms. Approximately 70% of women with RA experience improved symptoms in the second trimester that can last through the first 6 weeks after delivery, says J. Bruce Smith, MD, assistant compliance officer for research at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and a rheumatologist whose research has focused largely on autoimmune disease and pregnancy.
Continue reading Rheumatoid Arthritis Flares: The Ups and Downs of Pregnancy
Keep up-to-date on the latest rheumatoid arthritis (RA) research with our brief research summaries.
Obesity Reduces Odds of RA Remission
Research suggests weight may be a factor in whether people with RA will achieve disease remission. A review of studies screened a total 3,368 patient records. Canadian researchers found obese patients with RA were less likely to achieve remission or sustain remission compared to healthy-weight patients. Obesity, they reported, negatively impacts disease activity and patient-reported outcomes during therapy. Therefore, they say, interventions to reduce BMI should be investigated for the ability to improve disease outcomes.
Source: Arthritis Care & Research, January 2017
Continue reading RA Research Briefs: Remission, Surgery, Green Tea
Women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) report a decline in physical function after menopause, possibly due to shifting hormone levels, according to a recent study in the journal Rheumatology.
The researchers, led by Elizabeth Mollard, PhD, an assistant professor and advanced nurse practitioner at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, in Lincoln, undertook the study because there are known associations between RA and female hormones, but the connections are poorly understood. For example, RA often goes into remission during pregnancy but flares after delivery. First-time symptoms of RA appear more frequently after pregnancy, too. And for reasons that may or may not be hormone-related, women get RA at three times the rate that men do and they tend to have more pain and disability than their male counterparts.
Continue reading Daily Tasks Get Harder for Women with RA After Menopause
If you have an autoimmune disease, like rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), or lupus, or you take immunosuppressing drugs, you have to be extra-careful to avoid contagious diseases. We asked our readers and followers “What steps do you take to avoid getting sick during flu and cold season?” Here are their answers.
Continue reading You Said It: Avoiding the Flu with RA or PsA
Thanks to earlier diagnosis and more effective treatments, joint deformities in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are becoming less frequent and severe.
What Causes Joint Deformities in RA?
In a joint affected by RA, inflammatory cells of the immune system gather in the lining of the joint (called synovium), forming a fibrous layer of abnormal tissue (called pannus). The pannus releases substances that quicken bone erosion, cartilage destruction and damage to the surrounding ligaments. The involved joints lose their shape and alignment, resulting in deformities. Severe deformities lead to loss of joint function and the need for joint replacement surgery.
Continue reading Aggressive RA Treatment May Prevent Joint Deformities
Eating fish at least twice a week may help reduce inflammation and joint pain in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to a new analysis published recently in Arthritis Care & Research.
Fish oil supplements have long been known to improve pain as well as increase remission rates in RA patients taking triple therapy. This is among the first studies to show that fish itself – with lower concentrations than supplements of the active ingredients, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) – may be just as good.
But, the study authors say more studies are needed, noting, “…we cannot draw firm conclusions about the impact of frequent fish consumption on RA activity.”
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Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) don’t stop at joint pain and swelling. Most people with RA also experience mental and physical exhaustion, a symptom known as fatigue. Studies show that up to 80% of people with RA have at least some sense of feeling run down, and more than 50% have high levels of fatigue.
Terence Starz, MD, a rheumatologist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, says the feeling can be described as overwhelming or different from just being tired because it is extreme and seems to come from nowhere. In fact, fatigue may have a greater impact on daily life than pain.
Continue reading Fighting the Fatigue of RA
Generally, patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have higher levels of inflammation in their bodies, which can affect other organs and tissues besides the joints. In fact, people with RA have up to twice the risk of heart disease and development of heart failure (especially if they test positive for rheumatoid factor, or RF) than the general population, according to a 2013 Mayo Clinic study published in the American Heart Journal.
Continue reading Risk of Heart Attack Rises After RA Diagnosis