Monthly Archives: February 2009

Green Tea and Rheumatoid Arthritis

greenteaSeveral studies suggest that the antioxidants found in green tea may reduce the severity of symptoms for people with rheumatoid arthritis(RA).  The component EGCG (epigallocatechin 3 gallate)  found in green tea was shown to inhibit the production of inflammatory compounds  in the immune system that contribute to joint damage in patients with RA.  The studies showed that green tea  significantly blocked IL-6 and Cox 2 and prostaglandin E2 a components that causes inflammation and joint damage.  Green tea is made from unfermented leaves. Because green tea is the least processed tea it provides the most antioxidants. It can be found in most grocery stores.

Product Review: Mastex Thermal Spa Paraffin Wax Bath

Mastex Thermal Spa paraffin wax bath has soothed my swollen, painful hands, feet and elbows more times than I care to count. I have used mine to help with the pain of rheumatoid arthritis, but it also has the added benefit of softening of the skin and cuticles and it improves circulation.

It has a six pound paraffin wax capacity that takes about 2 1/2 to 3 hours to heat up.  This means that unless you leave it plugged in all the time, you have to plan ahead.  It is safe to leave the unit plugged in indefinitely.  It claims to use the equivalent of one light bulb’s electricity. It has a stainless steel tank that resists bacteria growth which is important for those of us with compromised immune systems.  At 6.5″ wide and 12″ long the tank is big enough to fit a foot comfortably.  Mine came with plastic baggies and mittens for hands and feet to use after the hand or foot has been dipped. With the wax fully melted the component only weights a little over 10 pounds.  The unit comes with 6 pounds of paraffin to get you started and replacement wax is available just about anywhere.  There are many varieties of wax on the market with an array of scents to choose from at every price point.  Which bring me to price,  this machine runs about $140.00 which is a little pricey.  It has a five year warranty.  I have had minMastex Thermal Spa Paraffin Wax Bathe for 8 years and have been very happy with it. The wax refills can be found in 6 pound quantities for   $26.85 at Amazon

Rating: 4 out of 5

RA Treatments Require Patience

purple-clockRheumatoid Arthritis has forced me, whether I like it or not, to become more patient; with myself and my medication. When you are hurting and want relief the last thing you want to hear is to be patient.  Unfortunately that is exactly what you need to do with many RA treatments.  Methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall) starts to work faster than the other DMARD’s (Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs) in about 3 to 6 weeks.  Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) originally used for the prevention of malaria can take up to 6 months to reach the full effect.  With Sulfasalazine (Azulfidine) symptom relief can take up to 3 months.  Gold (Myochrysine and Solgana) injections take 3 to 6 months before they have an effect on symptoms.  The class of drugs known as biologic DMARD (Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs) include Enbrel, Remicade, Humira, Kineret, and Orencia. These medications can take from several weeks to several months to achieve the full effect.  Some of these medications are taken in conjunction with one another, so that may influence the time it takes to start feeling improvement.  If you are not seeing or feeling results from your current course of treatment, discuss it with your rheumatologist. 

Weather: It’s Effect On Rheumatoid Arthritis

Stormy Weather
Can your joints forecast the weather better than a meteorologist?
I swear that my hands can. 
Over the years there have been many studies devoted to examining the effect of weather on joint pain.  Some studies note that there is a direct correlation between changes in barometric pressure and joint pain. 
Humidity and temperature also may play a role in joint pain. Most studies site that the matter is too subjective to be conclusive. 
So what can we take from this?  Trust your body.  If you know that your hands ( like mine ) hurt when there is a storm approaching, take the appropriate action.  Rest, anti-inflammatory meds. (if necessary) or my favorite solution is to use my paraffin wax bath to soothe my aching hands. It immobilizes my hands and surrounds them in warmth which feels wonderful.

Arthritis Foundation Scholarships

Arthritis Foundation will be awarding three $1,000.00 college scholarships to High school seniors or college undergraduate applicants who have been diagnosed with juvenile arthritis.

The awards will be based on disease impact, volunteer service and academic acheivement.  All applicants must be residents of New England on northern New York.

Application deadline is April 17.  Applications are available by emailing  info.sne@arthritis.org. Call your local chapter for application information. In Rhode Island you can call (401) 739-3773.

Happy Feet!

If you are anything like me, finding a pair of shoes that fit well and are comfortable is a big challenge.  I can’t count how many pair of shoes that I have bought and felt pretty good in the store only to get them home and after several hours on my feet, have banished them to the back of the closet.  Finding a pair of women’s shoes with a roomy toe box  that I would actually wear in public has been  difficult.  The solution came to me in a comment by Kirsten Borrink to my post on finding a rheumatolofist.  Kirsten Borrink, author of  http://www.barkingdogshoes.com/  does a fantastic job of reviewing shoes for those of us with feet issues. Kirsten understands the unique problems that people with RA have because she too is living with rhematoid arthritis. I look forward to reading her posts on a regular basis.

Your Heart & Rheumatoid Arthritis

HeartBecause rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disease more than your joints are at risk.  Studies show that people with rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to die from heart disease than the general public.  The risks may be due to systemic inflammation that responds by turning plaque in the arteries into blood clots.  RA patients are urged to control risk factors such high blood pressure, smoking and high cholesterol. Daily exercise and maintaining a healthy weight are essential in lowering the risk of heart disease.   There is evidence that controlling rheumatoid arthritis will help protect patients from dying from heart disease.

To help prevent heart disease a diet filled with fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and monounsaturated fats such as olive oil is essential. Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon  decrease inflammation and flavonoid rich foods in dark chocolate, blueberries, green and black teas are heart healthy foods which may inhibit the buildup of plaque in the artiery walls and prevent blood clots that can trigger a heart attack or stroke.

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