Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a chronic disease that causes pain, stiffness, swelling, and loss of function in the joints. The immune system mistakenly starts attacking healthy tissue which can result in permanent joint destruction. A Mayo Clinic study found that obese individuals were 25% more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis. Naturally, one would think that obese individuals would put more stress on their joints and thereby having increased pain, but the study indicated that it could be the fat cells contributing to RA.
How do the fat cells affect RA?
We know that obesity rates have risen over the years and so has the incidence of RA and additional studies have shown that the RA drugs are not very effective in obese patients. It appears that losing weight can have a significant impact on the joints which naturally alleviates the pain and wear and tear on these weight bearing joints.
- fat cells are mediators of inflammation; which attack the lining around joints. Logically, minimizing fat cells should help in minimizing inflammation.
- fat cells produce the female sex hormone estrogen and woman are more at risk to developing RA then men as there seems to be a hormone link.
Changing your diet to lose weight could help minimize the number of fat cells and lessen the inflammation surrounding the joints. Weight seems to be a contributing factor in many diseases and can be controlled. /
Testing for Autoimmune Diseases such as RA
Many physicians order the following tests to help your physician diagnose autoimmune diseases, but since there are many autoimmune diseases that have similar test results, it is important to have a physician properly review your medical history and symptoms.
- Anti Nuclear Antibodies (ANA)
- Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR)
- C-Reactive Protein (CRP)
- Rheumatoid Factor
ANA – The ANA test identifies the presence of antinuclear antibodies (ANA) in the blood. ANA is a group of special antibodies produced by a person’s immune system when it fails to adequately distinguish between “self” and “nonself.” These autoantibodies attack the body’s own cells. *
ESR – Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) is an indirect measure of the degree of inflammation present in the body. *
CRP – C-reactive protein (CRP) is a protein made by the liver and released into the bloodstream within a few hours after tissue injury, the start of an infection, or other cause of inflammation.*
Rheumatoid Factor (RF) – RF is an autoantibody, an IgM (immunoglobulin M) protein that is produced by the body’s immune system. Autoantibodies attack a person’s own tissues, mistakenly identifying the tissue as “foreign.”
Since RA is difficult to diagnose, there is not one test nor physical finding to determine if you have RA. A physician will normally check your joints for swelling, redness and warmth along with blood tests and maybe even x-rays.
* more details at www.Labtestsonline.org