(BeWellBuzz) Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a form of inflammatory arthritis. It is an autoimmune disorder that presents itself in the form of pain and inflammation in the joints throughout the body. When an autoimmune disorder like the RA strikes the body, its own immune system, originally designed to protect the body against the attack of foreign cells such as viruses and bacteria, begins to attack the body’s tissues instead. In case of RA, synovium, the thin membrane that lines the joint comes under an attack, causing fluids to build up in the joints and hence, the pain and inflammation.
Medication – The Traditional Practice
Being a chronic disease, RA, which affects approximately 1.5 million Americans today, has always been treated using very strong medications such as:
- Anti cancer agents
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Each of the medications have strong pain and inflammation relieving properties. However, research continually points towards a vast range of possible side effects from each one of these ranging right from progression of diabetes to severe problems with the digestive system.
Biological response modifiers – The Newer drug
Amidst the controversial side effects of the above medications, scientist recently came up with a newer class of drugs known as the biologic response modifiers or the Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF)-alpha inhibitors. Commonly available under the brand names Enbrel, Humira and Remicade, these drugs are designed to block the actions of substances that are produced by the immune system such as the TNF or interleukin-1, which might trigger off the symptoms of RA.
However, there is enough evidence that shows how the biologic response modifiers also carry a potential of serious side effects, like the earlier drugs, apart from being slow to act.
Here, let’s quickly take a look at a few highlights which explain this better:
- The symptoms are likely to return soon after the drug is discontinued.
- The drug can only be used in combination with the DMARDs
- Patients with tuberculosis or other serious infections cannot take this drug
- Major side effects include cancer and infection
Apart from the above, the most alarming revelations come in the form of a similar death rate being associated with use of this drug as well as the older class. Results from a controlled study points out how there was no difference in the death rates amongst groups of patients taking both these categories of medication.
The Point of Concern
With even the latest medical research failing to offer an appropriate solution, experts are now turning back to the safer and at times, even more effective holistic approach.
Read on as we explain why is it now more important to look at natural and holistic approach to treat RA and how to achieve the same.
Holistic approach – The highlights
Here, we list out some of the most effective and important ways to implement such a natural and holistic approach to treat RA:
1. Watch your diet
The foods you eat can considerably help in controlling various types of chronic inflammation in your body, such as rheumatoid arthritis. A few important guidelines you can follow include the below:
- Consume more of unprocessed, organic foods
- Have your foods raw, as much as possible
- Consume more of locally-grown produce whenever possible
- Cut out sugar and fructose from your diet
- Include maximum amount of omega-3 fats in your diet
2. Alter your medications
Years of research and analysis throws substantial light on the important changes in your medications schedule which can help. Consider the following:
- In some cases, Miocin works better than Tetracycline
- Use low-dose Naltrexone, an opioid antagonist, which is economical as well as non-toxic and a much safer option to the conventional RA medications
- Consider taking Astaxanthin, a strong anti-inflammatory antioxidant to control joint pain
3. Monitor your vitamin D levels
Since vitamin D is closely associated with development of RA, any treatment methodology to treat RA is incomplete without monitoring your vitamin D levels. Experts advise that for the results to be effective, the therapeutic range of your vitamin D levels should ideally be between 50-70 ng/ml.
4. Include probiotics in your diet
Increase your consumption of probiotics through supplementation as well as a high intake of fermented vegetables. On an average, 4-6 ounces of fermented veggies in a day could supply a whopping 10 trillion beneficial bacteria for your body.
5. Have non-toxic dietary supplements
Apart from the medications, you can also try some of the non-toxic dietary supplements which can help treat the symptoms of RA. A few amongst these include:
6. Exercise in moderation
Apart from your joints, RA also effects your muscle mass and causes overall reduction in strength. For this reason, it is important that you exercise, but in moderation and after consultation with your specialist.