How to become your own health mentor


The knowledge scientists do have sheds light on rheumatoid arthritis prevention strategies. Researchers know a myriad of ways a person may lower his or her risk, even if he or she has a genetic makeup that makes rheumatoid arthritis prevention more of a challenge.

If you have a relative with rheumatoid arthritis or if you want to slow down the progression of the autoimmune disease, consider devising your own rheumatoid arthritis prevention plan.

Since rheumatoid arthritis is not a contagious disease and cannot be transmitted from person to person, rheumatoid arthritis prevention thankfully does not depend on avoiding people with the disease.

Rheumatoid arthritis prevention is about common sense, staying physically fit, maintaining a stress-free and smoke-free environment as well as reducing strain on joints.

People who are obese put greater strain on their weight-bearing joints making rheumatoid arthritis prevention virtually impossible. Studies show obese people tend to eat more refined, processed foods � a bad habit that does not mix with rheumatoid arthritis prevention.

As part of your own rheumatoid arthritis prevention plan drink more water. Water plays a major role in the lubrication of your joints. Furthermore, water makes up 70 percent of the cartilage in joints.

Next, as part of your rheumatoid arthritis prevention plan, adopt a healthy eating plan. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, salmon and nuts. Cut down on high-fats including red meats and take mineral and vitamin supplements.

People with rheumatoid arthritis as well as those interested in prevention, may want to reduce repetitive strain on their joints and muscles. Rotate tasks throughout the day since forceful motions may contribute to rheumatoid arthritis.

Just as it�s important to rotate work tasks on the job, it�s critical for rheumatoid arthritis prevention that you cross-train when you exercise. A sedentary lifestyle will not help a person with rheumatoid arthritis or aid in prevention, although it is important to rest more during flair-ups.

If you are a woman with rheumatoid arthritis, exercise has been shown to help in the prevention of more severe disabilities.

In one Danish study, exercise helped strengthen the bones of women with rheumatoid arthritis who are at high risk of developing the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis.

According to the study Dr. Ole Rintek Madsen of Bispebjerg University in Copenhagen, Denmark, women with rheumatoid arthritis whose thigh muscles were strongest also had thighbones that were denser. His findings shed new light on rheumatoid arthritis prevention, suggesting exercise could help preserve bone strength in rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Another piece of the rheumatoid arthritis prevention pie has to do with psychological health. When it comes to prevention of any disease, the reduction of stress is paramount.

Consider meditating, listening to relaxation tapes, deep breathing exercises, visualization and yoga. Yoga is ideal for rheumatoid arthritis prevention because it is not only relaxing, but yoga postures may help with flexibility and range of motion of joints.

The prevention of rheumatoid arthritis is no easy task because there are no medications or lifestyle changes that are guaranteed in the prevention of rheumatoid arthritis. Typically, it�s after a person has been diagnosed with the disease that they take steps to control the disease.

At the same time, some prevention may be possible because researchers believe they have found certain links in terms of lowering the risk of getting rheumatoid arthritis.

One sure fire prevention measure is to stop smoking. Smoking was implicated as a possible cause of rheumatoid arthritis after several major studies including one published in the March 2000 issue of the Journal of Rheumatology.

Frederick Wolfe, M.D. studied both seropositive and seronegative rheumatoid arthritis patients. He found the rheumatoid factor values increase when correlated with duration of smoking. Also, results showed smokers are more often rheumatoid factor positive than nonsmokers, and the rheumatoid factor is associated with a more severe case of rheumatoid arthritis.

Finally, in creating your rheumatoid arthritis prevention plan, don�t neglect the protection of your joints. Take advantage of technology and devices designed to make life easier for people because many tools may aid in rheumatoid arthritis prevention. If you are successful now in terms of your prevention strategies, you may never be forced to use canes, splints or rheumatoid arthritis coping tools.


Accidental Poisoning from Acetaminophen

Acetaminophen is the most popular painkiller in the US. It is best known by the brand name Tylenol but is sold under 97 different brand names. It is known as paracetamol in many parts of the world. It is also sold in combination with other drugs in more than 100 products.

During cold and flu season, people who take acetaminophen for arthritis are at risk for acetaminophen poisoning. Taking just twice the recommended dose of acetaminophen can cause acute liver failure. Unfortunately, this has already happened to an alarming number of people because it isn�t hard to do. Two years ago, more than 56,000 people visited the emergency room due to accidental acetaminophen overdoses and 100 people died from unintentionally taking too much. Worse yet, the numbers appear to be growing.

How Can This Happen?

This happens so easily because acetaminophen is found in many different products. If you are taking the maximum recommended dose of just two acetaminophen-containing products, you can easily take an overdose.

For example, the maximum recommended dose of acetaminophen per day is 4000 mg. That equals 8 extra strength acetaminophen pills per day. You might easily take that much for arthritis pain.

Now let�s say you get the flu and decide to take a Cold & Flu product for your aches and stuffiness. Many of them include acetaminophen as the primary ingredient for reducing fevers and aches and pains. So, that will dose you with 1000 mg of acetaminophen every 6 hours or another 4000 mg a day.

By taking both products at the maximum recommend dose, you put yourself at risk for acute liver failure.

The problem doesn�t end there. You might get a head ache and pop some Excedrin. That�s 500 mg more acetaminophen per dose. Maybe you are in a car accident or have some dental work done. Prescription narcotics like Vicodin and Percocet contain from 325 mg to 750 mg of acetaminophen inside each pill. That can quickly add up.

Other Acetaminophen Complications for People with Arthritis

For some people, arthritis is caused by suboptimal detoxification pathways. Such people do not have the level of enzymes necessary to carry out the sulfoxidation necessary for a body to properly process and detoxify acetaminophen. In these circumstances, even the recommended level of acetaminophen may cause acetaminophen poisoning.

Furthermore, this same pathway is necessary for detoxifying many of the chemicals we are exposed to in our environment and through our food. This means that our detoxification system can also be weakened through chemical exposure. Similarly, if we swamp our system with acetaminophen, we don�t have enough detoxification power left to fully deal with all the other assaults in our daily environment.

If you have any known food sensitivities or chemical sensitivities, it is best to assume that your sulfoxidation pathways are already challenged enough, without adding the extra burden of acetaminophen in your system.

How to Avoid Acetaminophen Poisoning

Carefully read the label of any cold or flu medicine or painkiller that you are considering to ascertain how much acetaminophen it contains.

Healthy young adults should never exceed 4000 mg/day total from all sources for short term use. For long-term use healthy young adults should never exceed 3250 mg/day, according to clinical pharmacist Sandra Dawson, RPh, MSHA who lectures on pain management in long term care.

People who are vulnerable to damage from acetaminophen should take no more than 2000 to 3000 mg per day, according to Dr William Lee of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. This lower maximum dose includes the healthy elderly since liver and kidney function generally decline with age. Of course, for vulnerable populations, long-term use this maximum dose will also need to be even lower.