The Importance of a Healthy Diet When You Have Arthritis
Your diet has a big impact on your arthritis and your pain. While some experts argue about whether the right diet plan can reduce pain, nearly all agree that the wrong diet plan can make your pain significantly worse. The experience you have with diet changes is important to track so you can proactively help to manage your arthritis pain and progression.
The Jersey City arthritis pain specialist team from Jersey Premier Pain understands the mental and emotional burden that comes with chronic pain. Our team provides pain management services that help alleviate your symptoms. Eating a healthy balanced diet is one of the lifestyle changes that can help manage your pain. Regular exercise, not smoking, and avoiding excessive alcohol also have an impact on your arthritis and your overall health.
What Is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a general term that refers to over 100 different conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system. These are the muscles, bones, and joints in your body. Each of the different types of arthritis is characterized by swelling, inflammation, and pain.
Sometimes the physical symptoms are debilitating. Some symptoms may be minor, and the pain symptoms can change from one day to the next. For some, the pain of arthritis makes walking, getting dressed, and other routine tasks a challenge. While there are over 100 different types of arthritis, these are the five most common.
Osteoarthritis. There are more people with this condition than any other form of arthritis. It’s commonly called “wear-and-tear” arthritis, as it’s believed to be triggered by the overuse of a specific joint. The potential risk for osteoarthritis increases with age, but individuals with a joint injury or obesity that puts extra stress on the joints are also at a higher risk.
Osteoarthritis happens more frequently in weight-bearing joints, like the knees, feet, knees, hips, and spine. Most frequently, osteoarthritis comes on gradually and causes joint pain without some of the other systemic symptoms that happen with other types of arthritis, such as fatigue.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This is an autoimmune disease. This means the symptoms of the condition happen because the immune system attacks certain parts of the body. The attack leads to inflammation and severe joint damage when left untreated.
Roughly 20 percent of every person with rheumatoid arthritis will develop rheumatoid nodules. These are lumps on the skin that form over a joint area, such as the elbows, heels, or knuckles. The symptoms can come on gradually or start suddenly and often include pain and swelling in a symmetrical pattern. In other words, if the knuckles on the left hand are affected, then the knuckles on the right hand will likely be as well.
Psoriatic arthritis. This condition develops in people who have psoriasis, which is a skin condition that causes patchy, red and white, raised areas. Approximately 30 percent of people who have psoriasis will also develop psoriatic arthritis, which commonly shows up at 30 to 50 years of age. It can cause swelling in the fingers and toes and pitted and discolored fingernails. It may affect one joint or several.
Gout. This was once called a rich man’s illness because it is triggered by a buildup of uric acid crystals in the body after consuming rich foods. These form when the body makes too much uric acid or the kidneys cannot process the uric acid. The foods that encourage gout include meat, some types of fish, sugar, and alcohol. The symptoms come on very quickly and most frequently in the big toe. Intense joint pain can also happen in the ankle, knee, elbow, wrist, or fingers.
Lupus. This is another autoimmune disease that can affect the joints or the organs. It affects women of childbearing age more frequently than it does men and African American women more often than white women. You may experience painful swollen joints, fatigue, headaches, and the characteristic butterfly rash across the cheeks. People also report sun sensitivity, mouth sores, and chest pain when the disease affects the lining of the heart or lungs.
Healthy Diet Helps Lower Inflammation and Maintain a Healthy Weight
Most people with arthritis find they feel better when they’re eating a balanced and varied diet while forgoing many of the processed and junk foods they may have eaten in the past. A balanced diet consisting of mostly whole foods and clean, pure water provides you with better energy levels and gives you a greater sense of well-being.
This alone can help improve your mental outlook and your symptoms when you’re dealing with chronic pain. But the benefits of eating a healthy, well-balanced diet do not stop there. Obesity can place greater stress on your weight-bearing joints and therefore increase your pain level. It can accelerate the development and progression of osteoarthritis in the hips and knees.
Fat tissue is metabolically active and produces pro-inflammatory hormones. This means they can increase the inflammation in your body, which in turn triggers pain from your arthritis. Eating a balanced diet and losing excess weight can help decrease this joint damage and your pain.
A balanced diet high in animal sources of omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, while omega-6 fatty acids, commonly found in vegetable oils, processed foods, and junk foods, have an inflammatory effect.
Omega-3 fatty acids that are easily used by your body are found in marine animals such as sardines, wild-caught Alaskan salmon, herring, and anchovy. If these foods don’t sound good to you, consider a krill oil supplement. This is a sustainable source of omega-3 fats and has a lower potential for oxidative damage than fish oil.
Your body naturally absorbs Vitamin D from the sun, and this plays an important role in calcium metabolism and bone health. Research has shown that low vitamin D levels can accelerate osteoarthritis and increase tissue inflammation and bone fragility.
If you’re not getting enough sunlight each day for your skin to manufacture vitamin D, consider a vitamin D3 supplement. However, before supplementing, have your vitamin D level drawn. This helps determine how much vitamin D supplement you may need to raise your level to the optimum level of between 40 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) and 60 ng/mL.
Why Choose Jersey Premier Pain for Pain Management?
The team at Jersey Premier Pain understands that patients come to us because they need help managing pain so they can go on to enjoy the rest of their life. We work hard to provide excellent service to everyone who walks through our doors. We are determined to help you reach your goal and prioritize your needs. This focus has helped us build an excellent reputation for providing safe, effective pain treatment options and world-class patient care.
Contact Us Today for Help
If you are living with the pain of arthritis, contact Jersey Premier Pain today. You can schedule your first appointment with us by calling 201-386-8800. You’ll meet with one of our dedicated and experienced pain management specialists who can evaluate your condition and help determine whether arthritis is the source of your pain.