Tag Archives: healthy

DIAGNOSIS: RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS

Sandra was forty years old when she first noticed that the joints in her hands and toes were tender, warm, and swollen. In the mornings, the joints were stiff, and her body ached. She said she felt like she had been run over by a Mack Truck. She knew something was wrong so she made an appointment with her doctor.

The following week she met with her doctor. Sandra described her current symptoms (pain, stiffness, tenderness, warm and swollen joints). The doctor examined each joint, looking for tenderness, swelling, warmth, and painful or limited motion. He noted that the joints on both sides of her body were affected. (Rheumatoid arthritis tends to affect joints on both sides of the body.)

Next, the doctor ordered blood tests to measure inflammation levels. The blood tests also look for biomarkers such as antibodies (blood proteins) linked with rheumatoid arthritis.

Finally, he ordered a magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI) to look for joint damage, such as loss of bone within the joint and narrowing of joint space. Note that the lack of joint damage does not rule out rheumatoid arthritis. It may mean that the disease is in an early stage and hasn’t yet damaged the joints.

While she waited for the results of the tests, Sandra researched osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis on her computer. She discovered that osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. According to https://www.everday health.com/rheumatoid-arthritis, it affects over 30 million adults in the United States. It is also known as degenerative arthritis, and it is also called wear-and-tear arthritis. Osteoarthritis typically occurs in older adults.

By contrast, rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune, inflammatory, systemic disease. The immune system attacks healthy cells in the body by mistake. This results in inflammation, pain, and swelling in affected body parts. Rheumatoid arthritis typically attacks several joints symmetrically. It may also affect organs such as the heart, lungs, and eyes.

The test results showed that Sandra did indeed have rheumatoid arthritis. What caused this? Doctors don’t know what causes rheumatoid arthritis. However, according to https://www.mayoclinic.org, the following risk factors have been identified:

  • Being female.
  • Your age. Rheumatoid arthritis most commonly begins between the ages of 40 to 60.
  • Family history. If a member of your family has rheumatoid arthritis, you may have an increased risk of getting the disease.
  • Smoking. Cigarette smoking increases your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Environmental exposure. Exposure to asbestos or silica may increase your risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Obesity. People who are overweight or obese appear to be at somewhat higher risk of rheumatoid arthritis, especially women diagnosed with the disease when they were 55 or younger.

If you have a family member who has a serious illness and needs private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501. The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing care by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission. For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com, or call (630) 236-3501.

—By Karen Centowski

WE HAVE HATCHED AN IDEA!

Hatch Idea

Your teenage son comes home from school.  He stands in front of the refrigerator with the door wide open.  The refrigerator is filled with food.  He says, “There’s nothing to eat.”   Your husband comes home from work.  He sees you and says, “What’s for dinner tonight?”  Your family is sitting at the dinner table ready to eat a meal together.  Your seventh grade son sees the food and says, “Are we having THIS again?

One of the hardest things about being a wife or mother or caretaker is thinking of things to cook.  You are supposed to prepare food your family will enjoy and continue to do this every day for thirty or forty or fifty or sixty years.  I’ve heard an accomplished cook say, “Just tell me what vegetable you want with this meal.  Do you want corn or green beans?”

Are you always looking for a new recipe?  Do you like to read the Food Section of the newspaper?  Did you watch Julia Childs on television?  Have you tried making Rachel Ray’s thirty minute meals? Do you watch the Food Network on a regular basis?  Then we have something you will like.

Every week we will post a new recipe on our blog along with a picture of the food.  The first ones will be submitted by the staff in the office of American Home Health.  We invite you to check the blog each week for a new recipe to try in YOUR kitchen.

If you have a favorite recipe you would like to share, e-mail a camera ready copy of the recipe to edward.lara@ahhc-1.com.  Include a picture of a serving of the food.

By Karen Centowski