Boomers Cope With Rheumatoid Arthritis

As we approach the best years of our lives, we certainly discover the truth to the maxim Everything In Moderation. But moderation doesn’t mean elimination. In fact, researchers at Harvard Medical School conducted a study to find out how moderate alcohol consumption affects certain health conditions, in particular rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

RA is a chronic inflammatory disorder that affects more than 1.5 million Americans, the majority of whom are women, and its onset generally occurs between the ages of 30 and 60. It is marked by joint pain, swelling, tenderness and swelling; stiffness in the joints, and fatigue. Joint pain and inflammation may also be accompanied by joints that are warm to the touch and a low-grade fever.

Whereas osteoarthritis is associated with “wear and tear” damage of the joints, RA affects the lining of the joints which causes painful swelling, bone erosion, and joint deformity. Over time, RA may cause joints to become unstable, and patients who suffer from RA may find that they are unable to bend or straighten certain joints, or that their range of motion becomes limited.

The Harvard Medical School study revealed that at-risk individuals who consumed a few alcoholic beverages each week seemed to reduce their risk by about 21 percent. Women, in particular, who drank two to four beers each week reduced their odds of developing RA by 31 percent!

If you already suffer from RA, medical experts advise speaking to your provider before beginning or increasing beer consumption, as some RA drugs can cause liver damage if mixed with alcohol. They also caution against excessive alcohol consumption, which is not beneficial. Finally, there is no current evidence to suggest that those who already suffer from the disease will find relief if they change their alcohol consumption habits.

Experts at the Mayo Clinic suggest several (non-alcoholic) ways to cope with the pain of RA:

•Incorporate gentle exercise into your routine – yoga, water exercises, walking, cycling, and low-impact aerobics
•Stay active, but avoid activities that include high-impact or repetitious movement, such as running or tennis
•Talk to your doctor about pain relief medication, if necessary
•Avoid using tobacco products, as the toxins in tobacco smoke stress connective tissue and lead to more joint problems
•Keep a positive attitude, which may help you better cope with chronic discomfort or pain

Your Windsong community is the perfect place to stay active. With walkable streets, a community clubhouse with a fitness center, and neighbors with similar life-stage experiences, Windsong homeowners often find that activity is one of the standard features of their home!

Welcome home to Windsong – Where Life’s A Breeze!

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