What Causes Gout To Flare Up
Gout is a complex form of arthritis that can flare up suddenly and severely. It occurs as a result of having high levels of uric acid, which makes it easier for urate crystals to form. These sharp crystals can deposit in your joints, causing inflammation, swelling and pain.
“The most common trigger of gout is eating purine-rich foods, since high levels of purines can increase the amount of uric acid in your bloodstream,” explains Dr. Alam.
Gout-sufferers can help avoid flare-ups by avoiding foods rich in purines, including:
- Red meat
- Certain types of seafood, including tuna, scallops and trout
- Alcohol, particularly beer
- Fruit juices and other beverages that contain fructose
“Similar to rheumatoid arthritis, a flare-up of gout can be alleviated by using a cold compress on the affected joint, which helps reduce the inflammation that’s causing your pain, swelling and stiffness,” says Dr. Alam.
How To Treat An Arthritis Flare
Sometimes arthritis flare-ups cannot be prevented. At this point, all you can do is get through it the best you can. There are some things you can do that may help provide you some relief.
Make a Plan
You should try to have a plan in place for when you are experiencing arthritis flare-ups.
If you have unavoidable activities that cannot be canceled when your arthritis acts up, let the key people involved know what is happening that way, accommodations can be made.
Apply Heat or Cold
You can choose to use a hot or cold compact or a hot/cold cream, whichever better fits your needs. If you are using a heating pad or an ice pack, youll want to apply it directly to the painful area for 15-20 minute intervals throughout the day. For the hot/cold cream, youll need to follow the product instructions and be sure not to overuse the topical treatment.
When youre already in pain, its essential to get enough rest. You dont want to put more pressure on your inflamed joints.
You may feel like you are getting behind, but your body needs the time to rest to not prolong the pain. Dont push yourself during a flare.
While you must get plenty of rest during a flare, you have to be careful of being too still.
Its crucial to get in some low-impact movement like going for a short walk or stretching. There are also hand exercises you can do to keep the joints from becoming stiff.
Consult Your Doctor
Exploring The Connection Between Stress And Autoimmune Disease
In this new study, researchers analyzed more than 100,000 people diagnosed with stress-related disorders and compared their tendency to develop autoimmune disease at least one year later with 126,000 of their siblings, and another million people who did not have stress-related disorders.
The study found that individuals diagnosed with a stress-related disorder
- were more likely to be diagnosed with an autoimmune disease
- were more likely to develop multiple autoimmune diseases
- had a higher rate of autoimmune disease if younger.
*Patient-years is an expression that combines how many and for how long people are assessed in a study. If the frequency of a condition is 9 per 1,000 patient-years, that means 9 people would develop the disease among ,1000 patients monitored for 1 year, or among 500 patients monitored for 2 years, and so on).
A particularly important observation was that, for those with PTSD who were being treated with an SSRI , the increased rate of autoimmune disease was less dramatic. While these observations are intriguing, they dont tell us why or how a stress-related disorder might provoke or cause autoimmune disease.
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Have Quick Meals Ready To Go
An arthritis flare can last one or two days, a week, or more. Unfortunately, a flare usually knocks you off of your usual pace. It is unlikely that you will feel like cooking until you get the flare to simmer down. It will help to have easy meals available.
You never know when a flare will strike, so be prepared. Freeze leftovers so they are ready to go. Stock some of your favorite frozen dinners. If you have nothing on hand, call for delivery.
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Diagnosis And Treatment For Arthritis Flares
If you think youre going through a flare that hasnt improved after a couple of days, call your rheumatologist or primary care doctor. They will want to monitor how you feel and may want to order imaging and blood tests to see whats going on. They can also prescribe medications to get the flare under control.
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Can Imaging Exams Detect Arthritis
Imaging exams can help your healthcare provider get a clear picture of your bones, joints and soft tissues. An X-ray, MRI or ultrasound can reveal:
- Bone fractures or dislocations that may be causing you joint pain.
- Cartilage breakdown around your joints.
- Muscle, ligament or tendon injuries near your joints.
- Soft tissue inflammation.
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Take Time Away From Oa
We always seem to find time for the things we have to do. But itâs just as important to make time in your schedule for activities you like, such as reading, having coffee with a friend, seeing a movie, or listening to music. Not only will this help reduce your stress level, but it may also help you forget about your arthritis pain.
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Tips For Dealing With Arthritis Pain In Winter
How many times have you sworn that a storm was coming because your arthritis pain was flaring up? How many times has a bone-chilling cold caused your joints to swell and get inflamed with pain and stiffness?
Winter weather can be especially tough for those who suffer from arthritis, and there could be some truth to the old wives tale that aching joints can be an indicator of a change in weather. In fact, the Arthritis Foundation even cites studies that show lower barometric pressure caused more aches and pains for people in barometric pressure chambers.
Arthritis can be classified as either inflammatory or non-inflammatory. Inflammatory arthritis features inflammatory white blood cells in the joint fluid. Forms of inflammatory arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus arthritis, gout, and many others. Forms of non-inflammatory arthritis include osteoarthritis, arthritis of thyroid disease, arthritis after injury and many others. Studies have shown that cold weather can affect both inflammatory and non-inflammatory arthritis.
With winter in full swing, cold weather pain and arthritis can be uncomfortable and affect your quality of life. The cold doesnt cause arthritis, but it can increase joint pain, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Here are some great tips to deal with arthritis pain during the winter months.
1. Stay warm and layer up
2. Eat a healthy diet
3. Get your stress under control
4. Stay active and exercise
6. Get your vitamin D
Don’t Blame Yourself For Your Ra
That stress can actually contribute to the development of RA. Research has found a correlation between, for instance, post-traumatic stress disorder and RA, the association is unclear. Our understanding of how stress contributes to the development of autoimmune diseases is still relatively crude, says Anca Askanase, M.D., Director of Rheumatology Clinical Trials at Columbia University Medical Center. There does seem to be a connection between big life stressors and RA, but not necessarily everyday stressors like having a bad job. Whats most important to remember: Blaming yourself for your diagnosis is itself stressfuland counterproductive to healing.
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How To Treat Arthritis Flare
The best treatment for arthritis flare-ups is good prevention so that they do not occur at all. However, when they do happen, here are some tips on how to manage flare-ups to get yourself moving freely again.
Rest in Moderation
Obviously, rest is an important part of treating an arthritis flare-up because too much activity can cause or worsen a flare-up. However, it is also not a good idea to stop moving entirely, because this can make joints stiff, making the flare-up even worse. Motion is lotion for many chronic pain conditions, so make sure to attempt some sort of movement. Even something as simple as raising your legs in your chair can help.
Heat and Cold Therapy
Heat can help soothe muscle pain by relaxing the area and improving blood flow. Cold can reduce inflammation and numb the nerves in that area. Both of these therapies can be used , depending on your specific flare-up and how you are feeling.
Get Good Sleep and Listen to Your Doctor
It can be hard to sleep with an arthritis flare-up but practicing good sleep hygiene is a great way to help your body heal. Also, continue to follow through on prescribed treatments from your doctor. This is especially true if your flare-up is caused by a lapsed course of treatment.
The Mystery Of Autoimmune Illness Continues
Whether stress or stress-related disorders play an important role remains speculative. Even more important is the question of whether any particular treatment of these stress-induced psychological illnesses can prevent autoimmune disease. I look forward to a clinical trial that examines this fascinating possibility.
Follow me on Twitter @RobShmerling
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Psoriatic Arthritis Depression And Anxiety
People living with PsA are at higher risk of anxiety and depression. It can be hard to tell the difference between anxiety and stress because they have symptoms in common like worry and unease. What generally indicates that youre experiencing , not stress, is a feeling of dread or foreboding that doesnt go away. With depression, you may experience symptoms like sadness, hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness, trouble concentrating, and loss of interest in things you used to enjoy. Living with psoriatic arthritis can cause isolation and the can prevent you from living the life you imagined youd have. These feelings are valid and youre not alone. PsA support groups, either online or in-person, can be a significant source of support, as you can learn from the experiences of others and offer your own advice as well. Talking to a mental health professional is also crucial if youre experiencing stress, anxiety, or depression. and anxiety are usually treated with a combination of talk therapy and medication. It might take a few tries to find the medication or therapist that works best for you, but dont give up. Youre not in this alone, and youll be grateful you sought help once you start to feel better.
Stress, depression and anxiety are all potential pitfalls when youre living with psoriatic arthritis. Dont try to tough them out on your own. As you work with your doctor to ease your physical symptoms, make it a habit to check in on your mental health, too.
Stay Away From Foods That Make You Feel Worse
The effect of diet on arthritis has been disputed for years. Some claim there is no direct effect, while others claim certain foods increase inflammation and make arthritis symptoms worse. This is likely the most individual tip of all those listed.
If you are aware that certain foods make your arthritis feel worse, steer clear. This will not be the case for every person with arthritis, but if it does apply to you, dont eat foods that trigger inflammation.
- By Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
A new study has raised the possibility that stress may cause autoimmune disease, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, because it found a higher incidence of autoimmune diseases among people who were previously diagnosed with stress-related disorders.
I have patients who heard about this research and are saying, I knew it!
But before we accept a potential link between stress and autoimmune disease, lets look at some details of the study and consider how we define the terms autoimmune disease,stress, and stress-related disorder.
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Causes And Symptoms Of Arthritis Flares
If you have arthritis, you will likely have experienced a flare-up of symptoms at one time or another, often with no apparent cause. Depending on the type of arthritis you have, it may be related to a specific trigger or the ongoing progression of your disease. It is often hard to tell.
Treating And Managing Flare
Talk to your doctor about how to handle flare-ups, and let them know if they happen a lot. They may need to change your treatment plan.
Some flare-ups get better after you rest and take over-the-counter pain meds for a couple of days. Call your doctor if they last longer than that, or if your symptoms are intense.
Medication changes. You might need to adjust your medication temporarily, or add a new one. Medicines that can help with flares include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , either prescription or over-the-counter. You may take them as a pill or put them on your skin. Acetaminophen helps some people. Your doctor may also inject steroids into your joints.
Rest. One of the best ways to deal with a flare is to take it easy. Take a sick day if you need to. Ask family members to help out with chores. But try not to stop moving completely. Do a few gentle stretches to keep yourself from getting stiff.
Hot and cold therapies. Moist heat around your joints boosts blood flow and relaxes muscles. A warm paraffin wax dip may make your hands or feet feel better. A special machine heats the wax, which is the same type used in candles.
If too much exercise causes flare-ups for you, use an ice pack right after your workout to ease pain. A cold compress may help at other times, too. Cold constricts your blood vessels, which decreases blood flow. That leads to less pain.
Limit the use of either of these methods to two to four times a day, for no more than 15 minutes at a time.
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What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis Flare Ups
October 19, 2017 by Edward Harrison
Occasionally people with rheumatoid arthritis experience a flare up. A flare up is when symptoms have been controlled, but then suddenly become worse. The RA sufferer experiences three or more days of increased joint pain, swollen joints, and stiffness. An understanding of what causes RA flare ups and what to do about them can help family members of older adults with RA to assist with managing them.
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Types of Flare Ups.
The Arthritis Foundation states that there are two kinds of flare ups:
- Predictable Flares: These types of flares have triggers that the RA patient is aware of. For example, if older adults with RA overexert themselves cleaning the house or engaging in other strenuous physical activity, they can expect to have a flare up. Predictable flares usually last a few days and resolve on their own.
- Unpredictable Flares: Unpredictable flares are ones that the RA patient cannot associate with a trigger. They simply feel worse, and dont know why. These types of flares sometimes require medical care to resolve.
Common Flare Up Triggers.
There are several things that may trigger flare ups. Some things to be mindful of in aging family members with RA are:
Managing RA Flare Ups.
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How Psoriatic Arthritis Is Diagnosed
The diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis can best be made by a rheumatologist who is familiar with the many subtleties of this disease. X-rays can sometimes assist in the diagnosis. A careful history and a detailed physical examination with particular attention to the joints, skin, and nails are most important. Once the diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis is made, your rheumatologist will devise a treatment strategy for you.
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How Stress Impacts Oa
There are a few reasons emotional stress can lead to worse OA symptoms. When stress isnt dealt with and builds up in a person whether they have arthritis or not it has a negative impact on the body. Sore, aching or tense muscles and joints can occur in a healthy person who is stressed, and in someone with OA these physical symptoms of stress compound the OA symptoms already being experienced. Since OA causes stress in many people, its common for a cycle to develop: your OA symptoms cause stress, which causes your OA symptoms to worsen, which causes more stress, etc.
Stress can also make it difficult to get to sleep and to stay asleep. A poor nights sleep can make you feel irritable and tired the next day, and as a result, be more sensitive to pain. Additionally, lack of sleep often leads to overeating or unhealthy eating, which leads to weight gain, which puts more physical stress on your joints, making your pain worse.
There is a strong link between mental health, pain and disability associated with OA, indicates a 2010 study featured in Clinical Rheumatology. According to this research paper, as many as 40.7% of the participants showed signs of clinically significant anxiety and depression. Another study found that OA sufferers who are depressed had much worse pain and other symptoms that would be expected based on x-rays of the knee.
Stay Connected And Say No To Joint Pain
Having friends feels good — and itâs good for your health, too. “Most adults live with some type of pain, but studies show that the lonelier we are, the more likely we are to feel our pain,” says Nortin Hadler, MD, MACP, MACR, FACOEM. Hadler is a professor of medicine and attending rheumatologist at the University of North Carolina. “One of the best ways to reduce stress and pain is to join a group of peers in an activity that you enjoy. It doesnât matter if itâs a water aerobics class or a book group the most important piece is getting out there and connecting with others.”
Haynes says her church plays a big role in her social life. “I think itâs really important to be socially connected, so I try to get involved in church activities as much as I can. Being around other people is a great way to relieve stress and it just makes me feel good,” she says.
You can find ways to connect by looking for groups in your community that share your interests, whether itâs bird watching, tennis, or bridge. Or consider volunteering or joining a support group.
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