Morning Mix


Rheumatoid Arthritis: What you need to know

Posted at 10:46 AM, Apr 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-10 10:46:44-04

Many don't realize the importance of bone health and the effects it has on the body? It's something that even nationally recognized menopause specialist Dr. Diana Bitner with Spectrum Health Medical Group, didn't pick up on at first until one patient came to her asking questions.

Last week she talked about osteoporosis, bone density tests, and how menopause come into play. Now she's continuing the discussion with the addition of rheumatoid arthritis, another bone disease that causes many health problems.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic progressive process which affects the joints. It is an autoimmune condition in which the immune cells which usually protect actually mistakenly attack the lining tissues and the resulting inflammation damages the cartilage and sometimes the bones.

This destructive process causes the following symptoms:

  • Pain areas in the joints, back or muscles
  • Joint stiffness, swelling, tenderness, or weakness
  • Whole body fatigue, anemia, or malaise
  • Skin lumps or redness
  • Bumps on the finger or swelling

Rheumatoid arthritis affects more women than men and usually begins between age 30-60. Typically the diagnosis is made with blood tests and X-rays or MRI with symptoms coming and going. Treatment includes ibuprofen or cousin drugs, corticosteroids, or biologics-meds given often by injection. The goal of treatment is to reduce the inflammation and stop the destruction of the joint.

Practicing these healthy habits can also prevent the progression of rheumatoid arthritis:

  • Sleep, rest and water
  • Vitamin D, Omega Fatty Acid, Calcium
  • Healthy diet, low in sugar and processed foods
  • Activity with flexibility, strength and fitness
  • Fiber
  • Metered breathing and gratitude
  • Treatment of menopause (HRT)
  • Aggressive treatment of inflammation, consider medications

To continue this discussion or any others related to female healthy, Dr. Bitner's office is located at 3800 Lake Michigan Drive Northwest, Suite A. To schedule an appointment with her, call (616)-267-8225.

Read more stories like this on Dr. Bitner's Blog.