All posts filed under: RA body

RA, Nighttime and Cortisol

We all agree that mornings with RA is not easy. Stiffness, pain,  and suffering that feels like it lasts forever. I have learned to manage morning pain well.  I usually wake up about five or six to use the rest room. At that time, I take  pain medication  and I go back to sleep. When I wake up around eight,  the edge has been taken off my discomfort. I  have coffee and read the New York Times for an hour. And then I am good to go. Some of us with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) experience increased pain at night.  When I am in a flare, I have a hard time sleeping.  My body feels worn  and  ragged. Knuckles, wrists, shoulders, feet, ankles, pelvic girdle, spine. And even my elbows. Nighttime pain is different. It feels heavy. It feels overbearing. It feels endless. It just seems too much. Research has shown that people who experience nocturnal pain have an increased number of swollen, painful joints. They are sicker. For normal bodies the inflammatory system works to …

Morning time/Evening time with RA

I have figured out how to reduce the morning stiffness and pain of my RA. I do two things. First, I take pain medication. I wake up in the early morning to use the restroom. At that time, I take a dose of my pain medication. Before I go to bed, I put a dose in a little bowl on my night table. It is easy to access and I will know whether or not I had taken it.  Then I go back to sleep for about an hour or so. It relieves me of the pain that saturates my body in the morning. I no longer feel discouraged. I am ready for my day. The second thing I do is read the paper while I have my freshly brewed Starbucks French Roast. I have time to center myself as I work out the nighttime kinks.  I read the New York Times on my Kindle. I have a cover for my Kindle that also acts a stand for it (something like a picture frame easel). …

Silica is a risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis

Silica, the earth’s most abundant mineral, is made up of oxygen and silicon. It is a part of many, many processes including mining, pottery making, glass making, and granite work including tombstone making. The lung disease caused by crystalline silica dust is called silicosis and has been known since the time of Hippocrates. It is an inflammatory disease. In the fifties after many studies, it was learned that autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis could be caused by exposure to crystalline silica. The connection though proven is not well understood. Rheumatoid arthritis is also an inflammatory disease. This morning I was reading one of the comments on the forum Health Unlocked. It was written by a woman who has RA as does her brother. Interestingly, both had jobs where they worked with silica.

Elderly Onset Rheumatoid Arthritis

Blog: EORA, Elderly Onset Rheumatoid Arthritis As we get older, our youthful bodies start to lose some of the agility and endurance we have always expected of ourselves. We slow down. Late nights aren’t as fun as they used to be. Food choices change. Spicy food may suddenly seem too spicy. Climbing stairs isn’t quite as easy as it once was. Aging is a gradual process and we adjust to it as we go. Some of us feel lucky to be alive. We have friends and family who have died from cancer or heart disease. We may have the experience of surviving war, illness or accidents. And we have finally learned that we are not immortal. We see the calendar pages fly by and are starting to wonder about the condition of our maturing bodies. We look more closely at our medical insurance plan and we start making appointments with our primary care providers. We are prescribed the classic medications, a statin and maybe  a blood pressure pill. We promise ourselves to walk more and …

Living with RA

  Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is considered a chronic disease. A characteristic of chronic disease is its disabling features. Walking may become more difficult. Activities like dressing, preparing meals, performing personal hygiene and completing household chores become harder and harder. Life becomes increasingly challenging until a person hits a crossroad where they make changes in his or her life or gradually slips down the slippery slope into a dependence that requires custodial care and no turning back.  RA is known for making life challenging in many ways. Like cancer, diabetes or all the other autoimmune diseases, being able to live with RA starts by making changes to our lifestyle. Pain management is a big concern for those with RA. There is no going around the fact that pain is a common feature of every day RA life. There has been much written on managing pain. Managing pain is possible with the help of professionals skilled in pain management. The topic requires its own space although these suggestions will help lease the burden of that pain. For …

Vitamin D deficiency and RA

The first doctor to test my vitamin D level was my oncologist. My level was 60 ng/ml. He suggested I lower my supplement amount. I lowered it to 2000U. My next test level was 16 ng/ml. He said,” Just keep doing what you were doing before you changed it.”  I raised my supplement to 4000U and my blood levels have been normal since then. Without a supplement, I was deficient in vitamin D. I have rheumatoid arthritis. Vitamin D deficiency is common in those with RA, type I diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Additional factors that influence vitamin D levels in those with RA include corticosteroid use. Drugs such as prednisone and Medrol can reduce calcium absorption and impair vitamin D metabolism. Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) is also linked to malabsorption of vitamin D.  I am on both drugs and I do take the above supplement. Those with RA who have a deficiency of vitamin D will have difficulty concentrating, pain may worsen, fatigue and depression increase. Vitamin D is a hormone involved in bone and calcium metabolism. …

The Gut RA Connection

By now  most of us know  that our intestinal system is home to trillions of  bacteria busy doing their job populating their ecosystem in the lining of out intestines. Collectively they are called the gut microbiome or gut flora. The beneficial bacteria in the gut have names that we see on the list of ingredients in a good yogurt such as  lactobacillus acidophilus. These bacteria help maintain a consistent environment, protect the body from foreign invaders, communicate with the immune system and the brain. The gut microbiome is complex and gut imbalances have been implicated in the development of RA as in other inflammatory diseases.  “Larger-than-normal populations of  specific gut bacteria may trigger the development of diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and possibly fuel disease progression in people genetically predisposed to this crippling and confounding condition,” according to Mayo Clinic Researchers. An imbalance in the gut microbiome coupled with a genetic predisposition to RA may be the initiating factor in the RA disease process. There is a lot of research being done. Using probiotics  medically as …