Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Rheumatoid Arthritis Sleep Tips and Foods that Trigger RA Symptoms

According to John Hopkins rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a common, persistent systemic disorder that can cause inflammation of joints throughout the body. Early stage of RA the thin layer of tissue known as the synovial membrane that provides lubrication to ease movement to the joints become inflamed and thickened, causing pain and limited joint movement. Later as the disease progresses, the cartilage and the ends of the bones in the joint erode. The result is severe joint damage and deformity. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite and stiffness in the joints. RA is usually in the small joints of the hands and wrists but can progress to the elbows, shoulders, knees, hips, ankles, feet and neck. In some cases organs including eyes, heart and lungs may become inflamed too. Research suggests that RA is an autoimmune disorder caused by the attack of the immune system on some of the body’s own cells. RA develops between the ages of 20 and 50 and the chances increase with age. Women are three times more likely than men to develop RA. Treatment includes that RA sufferers need over 10 hours of sleep at night, or eight hours with a two hour nap during the day. What are other rheumatoid arthritis sleep tips and foods that trigger RA symptoms?

[caption id="attachment_844" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Rheumatoid Arthritis Sleep Tips and Foods that Trigger RA Symptoms - Deformed Joints"][/caption]

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) patients need quantity and quality sleep to in order to fight debilitating pain and fatigue. Rest is one of the only things that can enable those living with RA to function in a somewhat normal manner. Rheumatoid arthritis patients frequently complain that restful or adequate sleep is elusive. To promote sleep practice and patients are required to get the rest they need. See: Mind Your P's and Q's Easy Sleep Techniques Meditation and Self Hypnosis

• Pursue physical comfort. Deal with pain and discomfort as much as possible ahead of bedtime. This not only includes pain medicine, but also could include heat patches or creams. Look for your ultimate mattress and pillow. A memory foam mattress allows your weight to be distributed across the surface and your hip and shoulder will sink in and the foam will contour to other areas providing support for your whole body. A good mattress and pillow will help alleviate joint stiffness in the morning.

• Attempt to relax. Release the intense stress of another day living with RA. Things that might help include a gentle massage, warm bath, a cup of chamomile tea, aroma therapy, sleep music and non-constrictive clothing.

• Watch out for medicine. Some drugs or medications interfere with sleep. These may include various vitamins, cold medications, prednisone, and blood pressure medicines. Check with your pharmacist. Some can take methotrexate at bedtime successfully, but it if bothers you, you may decide to take it earlier in the day.

• Be careful about food and drink: Some foods and drinks promote sleep and some interfere. Caffeine is the obvious one, but watch to see what bothers you, such as sugar. A typical safe snack is a banana or a turkey sandwich with milk – full of L-tryptophan and potassium to fight leg cramps. Alcohol and nicotine are also known sleep stealers. More food triggers below.

• Take hormones earlier in the day. Many hormones such as estrogen or thyroid supplements can interfere with sleep if taken near bedtime.

What foods trigger RA symptom? Antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables, high-fiber grains, lean cut meats can all help reduce RA aches and pains. Animal products such as red meat, pork, poultry, eggs and butter can increase inflammation in the body. If you love eggs, make an omelet with egg whites only. Choose leaner cuts of meat like; sirloin steak, chicken breast and pork. Since milk has tryptophan in it which can help you fall asleep easy, switch to skim or no-fat. All fat is not bad, you can get polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats in olive oil, nuts and avocados.

Trans-fatty acids and oils that are chemically processed are in snacks and spread contain a C-reactive protein a marker doctors use to indicate the amount of inflammation is in the blood. TFA-rich foods have a profound effect on inflammatory markers making them twice as dangerous as saturated fats. Just look at the nutrition label on packaged and processed foods as food manufacturers are required to list trans fats. Note: even if the label states zero trans fats the FDA allows a product to contain up to half a gram of trans fat per serving. What does that mean? You may exceed your maximum daily recommended amount with just three pieces of toast with a trans-fat-free margarine. Did you know that foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids can actually reduce levels of the C-reactive protein? If you crave a snack, eat nuts that are a great source of omega-3 instead of chips. Replace margarine with Smart Balance Omega-3 Buttery Spread which contains omega-3 rich flaxseed and fish oil.

[caption id="attachment_845" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Rheumatoid Arthritis Sleep Tips and Foods that Trigger RA Symptoms - Joint Comparison"][/caption]

Besides chips other comfort foods like cakes, cookies are high on the glycemic index as they break down quickly into sugar making your insulin levels increase, causing inflammation. If you crave something sweet eat it with some protein to slow down the glucose process. White flour, potatoes and rice will also break down quickly into sugar. Replace white bread, potatoes and rice with whole grains, sweet potatoes and brown rice as they are on the lower end of the GI index. For something sweet, but healthy try Bing cherries, apples and pears. Bake apples or pears with cinnamon to make a dessert as cinnamon help regulate your blood sugar.

Some people with RA not only eat foods that trigger RA symptoms but they also have an allergic reaction to some foods. Food intolerance reaction include; bloating, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and headaches. If you have food allergies your immune system creates antibodies that cause inflammation. In order to find which foods are causing your food allergies fist pick healthier substitutes. Keep track of physical reactions to foods in a food diary. By eliminating foods and reintroducing them to see if you get a negative reaction. Also a food diary will help your doctor treat your RA. The content in Rheumatoid Arthritis Sleep Tips and Foods that Trigger RA Symptoms is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for your sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.
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