Making a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis is often tricky. With no single test that confirms or eliminates the disease, the diagnosis of RA is based on a physical exam, patient history, laboratory tests and often imaging. However, symptoms of RA, such as pain, swelling and fatigue, are not exclusive to the disease. And correct diagnosis is important in choosing an appropriate treatment plan.
A number of diseases, such as lupus, fibromyalgia or Sjögren’s syndrome, may easily be confused with RA or coexist in a patient. Arthritis symptoms might develop following certain infections, such as Lyme disease, tuberculosis, gastrointestinal infection or sexually-transmitted disease. Patients with certain cancers, such as large granular lymphocyte (LGL) leukemia, have an increased incidence of RA and acute leukemia in children may even be misdiagnosed as Idiopathic Juvenile Arthritis.
conditions that look like ra
Lisa Emrich Health Guide June 24, 2014
Musculoskeletal pain and nonspecific symptoms are often the initial signs of cancer in about 20% of children who develop pediatric leukemia. Because of similar symptoms, childhood leukemia can masquerade as juvenile idiopathic arthritis, osteomyelitis, transient synovitis, or septic arthritis, resulting in delayed treatment.
What is leukemia?
Leukemia is a type of cancer that causes bone marrow to produce large numbers of abnormal white blood cells that enter the bloodstream and do not function properly. Leukemia accounts for 33-41% of all malignancies in children under 15 years of age with approximately 3250 children diagnosed each year in the United States.
Each type of leukemia is named for the blood cell that’s affected.
conditions that look like ra
Lisa Emrich Health Guide June 17, 2014
Making the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis is often tricky. With no single test that confirms or eliminates the disease, the diagnosis of RA is made based on physical exam, patient history, laboratory tests, and often imaging. However, symptoms of RA, such as pain, swelling, and fatigue, are not exclusive to the disease. Correct diagnosis is important in choosing an appropriate treatment plan.
A number of diseases, such as lupus, fibromyalgia, or Sjögren’s syndrome, may easily be confused with RA or coexist in a patient. Arthritis symptoms might develop following certain infections, such as Lyme disease, tuberculosis, gastrointestinal infection or sexually-transmitted disease.
Plants as medicine
For thousands of years, plants have been used for their healing properties. Modern day supplements derived from various herbs and plants are increasingly available at your local grocery or health food stores. Several supplements, touted for their pain-relieving or anti-inflammatory benefits, are commonly used in Ayruvedic and Chinese medicine. A number of these are popular in people living with rheumatoid arthritis or other inflammatory diseases.
At times, it can become difficult to distinguish between the marketing claims of supplement manufacturers and the proven tract records of select herbs. Fortunately, researchers have been putting select herbs to the test and science backs up their use. Here are five of the top herbal supplements known to benefit people with RA.
Going “gluten-free” is all the rage these days as evidenced by an increasing number of products available on grocery store shelves and restaurant menus. If we are to believe the hype, a gluten-free diet is healthier for you and may serve to improve a wide variety of symptoms. In fact, people who have sensitivities to gluten do benefit by eliminating all sources of gluten from their diet. However, this is a huge undertaking which requires constant vigilance and commitment.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat (including spelt, couscous, semolina, kamut, farro, and bulgur) and other grains such as barley, rye and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye). Gluten is not found in other grains, such as rice, corn, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, millet, sorghum, teff, and oats (unless contaminated with wheat during processing).
Sex is a fundamental part of life and literally keeps the world alive. When living with chronic illness, frequent pain, and fatigue, maintaining a satisfying sex life can become an arduous task. But it doesn’t need to be. Focusing on intimacy and redefining your idea of what is sexy or sexual will open up a whole new world of sensual experiences.
So today, let’s talk about relationships and sex. One of the most important aspects of any relationship is open communication. A relationship without open communication makes it difficult for individuals to connect mentally, physically, or emotionally. Sexual activity provides more than a physical connection, it binds people mentally and emotionally as well. It also increases blood flow and releases endorphins which serve as the body’s own pain relievers, both which are good for RA.
Rheumatoid vasculitis is a rare but serious complication of rheumatoid arthritis which occurs in 1-5% of patients diagnosed with RA (Genta 2006). In rheumatoid vasculitis, inflammation of small and medium-sized blood vessels in the body restricts blood flow and causes tissue damage. Multiple organs may be affected including the skin, nerves, eyes, heart, lung, brain, gastrointestinal tract or kidneys. It most commonly affects the skin, arteries of the fingers and toes, peripheral nervous system, and eyes causing scleritis (an inflammation of the white part of the eye).
Who develops rheumatoid vasculitis?
Vasculitis in RA is associated with longstanding (more than 10 years), erosive, seropositive disease. It is more common in men than women with RA and in patients who smoke.
The use of medical marijuana remains a hot topic in the United States. Although twenty states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws to legalize medical marijuana, in the majority of the country marijuana is still an illicit drug. Two states, Colorado and Washington, legalized the recreational use of marijuana in 2012. Despite state laws allowing for medical or recreational use of cannabis, the US federal government continues to list marijuana (cannabis) as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substance Act which makes it illegal to possess, use, or sell marijuana throughout the United States.
The Arthritis Foundation, an advocacy organization representing patients with all types of arthritis, featured a discussion on issues related to medical marijuana in its May/June 2013 issue of Arthritis Today.
Dietary advice is abundant in the arthritis community. Despite years of interest and research, our knowledge about the impact of dietary therapy on disease activity in RA has not changed much since the editorial “Diet therapy for the patient with rheumatoid arthritis?” appeared in the journal Rheumatology in 1999.
A number of small studies have utilized restricted diets (such as fasting followed by vegan diet, lactovegetarian diet, or vegetarian diet) or diets that eliminated specific foods (such as diary products, red meat, citrus, fruits, tomatoes, alcohol or coffee) then reintroduced individual foods to note any objective or subjective changes in RA symptoms.
Winter has been particularly cold and snowy this year. After indulging in a number of traditional winter comfort foods, such as chili, mac and cheese, or spaghetti, I’m ready to look forward to springtime and eating more fresh produce. However, it doesn’t need to be spring to enjoy a great salad so I thought that I would share my favorite easy-fix “taco salad.”
The key to this salad is the cooked kidney bean and vegetable mixture. A few years ago in the frozen food section, I discovered Hanover Latino Blend Vegetables (16 oz. bag) which includes corn, black beans, onions, green peppers, and red peppers. This combination of vegetables is perfect for a taco salad. Also, cooking/frying the kidney beans in salt and pepper changes the flavor in a way that compliments the salad.
The following recipe usually feeds 3 people in our household.