Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition where your body’s immune system attacks tissue. Common symptoms include swollen and stiff joints, weight loss, fever, and lack of energy. It’s a condition that is more common in women and often appears between the ages of 40 and 60. If your mom has it, it can impact her life.
How Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Differ From Osteoarthritis?
With osteoarthritis, the cartilage and synovial fluid around the ends of bones and joint degrades. The bones are no longer protected by a cushion and rub on each other. Rheumatoid arthritis differs because the synovial membrane is under attack by the body’s immune system. It becomes inflamed and swells.
An Anti-Inflammatory Diet May Help.
The Arthritis Foundation and some doctors recommend an anti-inflammatory diet to help ease rheumatoid arthritis. Talk to your mom’s doctor for input. He or she may recommend sitting down with a nutritionist.
Generally, an anti-inflammatory diet includes lots of whole grains that are high in fiber. Almonds and walnuts are also high in fiber and contain beneficial oils.
Fish, olives and olive oil, and fresh vegetables are also recommended. The best choices for fish are anchovies, salmon, sardines, and tuna. Vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, and spinach are good choices.
Fruits rich in antioxidants are also beneficial. Berries are especially helpful in supporting immunities. Look for blackberries, blueberries, cherries, raspberries, and strawberries.
Finally, dried beans are a great choice. Not only are they high in fiber, but they’re also a lean protein that’s rich in folic acid and several minerals.
What Your Mom Needs to Avoid.
Processed foods are something your mom needs to avoid. They’re high in salt, fats, and sugar. When she’s choosing her meal, she should follow the recommended guidelines of dividing a plate into quarters. The different quarters should hold a lean protein, a vegetable, a fruit, and a whole grain.
While the pain may make mobility a challenge, your mom needs to keep exercising. If the pain makes it hard, look at swimming where the strain on joints is decreased. If standing hurts, aim for exercises where she’s sitting. A stationary bicycle or rowing machine may be better.
When your mom is having a hard time with mobility or daily tasks due to the pain, stiffness, and swelling, arrange supportive senior care. Caregivers can help her with meal preparation, do the housework, and change sheets and towels. They can do the laundry, schedule appointments, and handle the driving.