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Rheumatoid Arthritis: NHS on common signs and symptoms

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Arthritis is not a single disease, but instead a way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. There are more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions. Currently, the NHS notes that there is no cure for arthritis, but there are many treatments that can help slow it down. Indeed, certain foods can help, or trigger, problems with arthritis.

Fran McElwaine, a Functional Health Practitioner and Longevity Coach, says that the trick is to avoid foods that cause inflammation.

“In a nutshell” the health expert says that ultra-processed foods “contain a cocktail of other ingredients which can be extremely inflammatory for many people”.

These foods tend to include sugar, gluten, amitriptyline and nefazodone dairy, soy, seed oils, artificial sweeteners, food preservatives, colourings and other additives.

Fran notes: “If there was one thing I would advise my clients to avoid it is sugar and all highly processed carbs.”

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She suggests that “these foods cause huge spikes in blood sugar which sets up a cascade” of reactions which lead to a number of inflammatory diseases, including arthritis.

Although there are certain foods it is a good idea to avoid, the Cleveland Clinic says: “Food is medicine. If you’re struggling with pain from arthritis, eating foods that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties — along with any drugs or other treatments your doctor recommends — may help.”

The NHS encourages those living with arthritis to eat a healthy and balanced diet and maintain a healthy weight. It explains diets should consist of a variety of foods from all five food groups.

These are fruit and vegetables, starchy foods, and meat, fish, eggs and beans. The health body adds that you should include milk and dairy foods, and foods containing fat and sugar.

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The Arthritis Foundation notes that blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, cranberries and raspberries may all also help with arthritis symptoms.

There are several different kinds of the condition, though following a healthy diet is always recommended.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in the UK, affecting around eight million people, while rheumatoid arthritis affects more than 400,000 people.

Rheumatoid arthritis often starts when a person is between 40 and 50 years old, and women are three times more likely to be affected than men.

There are some other lifestyle habits and changes that might help manage symptoms. You should also try to quit smoking.

“Smoking causes stress on connective tissues, which can increase arthritis pain,” says the Mayo Clinic.

If you have arthritis, your joints will most likely feel stiff and be hard to move, you may also find that the area around your joints may feel warm, look red or puffy.

If you notice symptoms or are concerned about arthritis it is important to speak to your GP.

The Arthritis Foundation states: “Morning stiffness that lasts longer than an hour is a good reason to suspect arthritis.”

Two other key signs are swelling and difficulty moving a joint.

Some types of arthritis cause the skin over the affected joint to become red and swollen and may start feeling warm to the touch.

If swelling that lasts for three days or longer or occurs more than three times a month you should speak with your GP.

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