Arthritis: Doctor gives advice on best foods to help ease pain
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Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two most common types of arthritis but there are more than 100 types of the disease. The types of symptoms one may experience are equally as extensive. Most people associate arthritis with joint pain but particular types produce symptoms that affect other bodily processes.
Reactive arthritis offers a prime example of how the joint disease can affect other areas of the body.
Reactive arthritis is a condition that causes redness and swelling (inflammation) in various joints in the body, especially the knees, feet, toes, hips and ankles.
But, as the NHS explains, sometimes, you can also have symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI).
UTIs affect your urinary tract, including your bladder (cystitis), urethra (urethritis) or kidneys (kidney infection).
According to the NHS, UTI-like signs of arthritis include:
- Pain or a burning sensation when peeing
- Smelly or cloudy pee
- Blood in your pee
- Pain in your lower tummy
- Feeling tired and unwell.
Other non-joint symptoms include:
- Flu-like symptoms
- A high temperature (fever)
- Weight loss
- Mouth ulcers
- A scaly rash on the hands or feet.
How to treat arthritis
Arthritis symptoms can greatly diminish one’s quality of life, making even basic tasks hard to perform.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for the joint disease but symptoms can be alleviated by making healthy lifestyle decisions.
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Research suggests a vegan diet can provide relief for rheumatoid arthritis, for example.
A vegan diet includes intake of only fruits and vegetables, eliminating any animal product or by-products.
According to a study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 600 participants following a vegan diet for three weeks has significantly reduced C-reactive protein (CRP), a key marker for acute and chronic inflammation.
Likewise, a meta-analysis of 17 studies published in Public Health Nutrition found that following a vegetarian or vegan diet for two or more years was associated with lower CRP levels.
However, benefits have to be balanced against the risks of going vegan.
Vegetarians, and especially vegans, have low blood levels of vitamin B-12 and D, calcium and essential fatty acids, according to study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
“These vitamins and minerals play important roles in bone health, and low levels of fatty acids are associated with several cardiovascular risk factors,” explains the Arthritis Foundation (AF).
The AF adds: “Vegans may also have higher levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that has been linked to heart disease, and lower levels of HDL, the “good” cholesterol, known to protect the heart.”
Another key tip for alleviating arthritis symptoms is to engage in regular exercise.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, exercise is crucial for people with arthritis.
“It increases strength and flexibility, reduces joint pain, and helps combat fatigue,” explains the Mayo Clinic.
The health body adds: “Even moderate exercise can ease your pain and help you maintain a healthy weight.”
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