Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a long-term disease that leads to inflammation of the joints and surrounding tissues. It can also affect other organs. The cause of RA is unknown. It is an autoimmune disease, which means the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. RA can occur at any age, but is more common in middle age. Women get RA more often than men do. Infection, vaccination, genes, refined food diet and hormone changes may be linked to the disease. RA usually affects joints on both sides of the body equally. Wrists, fingers, knees, feet, and ankles are the most commonly affected. The disease often begins slowly, usually with only minor joint pain, stiffness, and fatigue.
Joint symptoms may include:
• Morning stiffness, which lasts more than 1 hour, is common. Joints may feel warm, tender, and stiff when not used for an hour.
• Joint pain is often felt on the same joint on both sides of the body.
• Over time, joints may lose their range of motion and may become deformed.
The general advice is to exercise more to decrease pain and feel more energetic, although this hardly seems possible to someone suffering with RA. It is true that inactivity decreases joint motion and flexibility. Inactivity also can lead to weak muscles and deformed joints. Regular exercise helps reverse joint stiffness, builds muscle, and boosts overall fitness. With regular exercise, you can be stronger with less fatigue in spite of this disease. Here is the key: it must be the right type of exercise; it is not necessarily about doing “more” exercise, but the right kind with the right dose. And yes, exercise should be discussed as a
dose, just like medicine. Especially when dealing with this particular pathology, because the right amount of exercise for someone with RA can be life changing. It could radically improve their quality of living. The wrong dose could easily be toxic and leave the sufferer of this disease worse off.
To find out more about Rheumatoid Arthritis and what type of exercise those who suffer from it should try check out The Women’s Journal West edition online.
Click on the link to read this full article from our friends at Overload Fitness.