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Quiz: Rheumatoid Arthritis Myths and Facts

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Which of the following is linked with rheumatoid arthritis?

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Which of the following is linked with rheumatoid arthritis?

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

If you smoke, you’re more likely to get RA, particularly if you have a certain gene. Add salt to the recipe, and your odds go up again. Smokers who regularly use more than a dash or pinch of salt at meals double their risk of RA.

 

RA is not related to osteoarthritis, although they share many similar features. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and is characterized by the breakdown of cartilage because of wear and tear.  

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Beer could help you steer clear of RA.

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Beer could help you steer clear of RA.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Women who drink two to four beers a week may lower their chances of getting RA. Although beer is best -- cutting RA risk by about 30% -- an occasional glass of wine or liquor also lessens the likelihood. If you have RA and drink in moderation, you, too, might have a reason to toast, because your symptoms may be less severe. Before you declare happy hour, though, remember that alcohol can damage your liver, especially if you’re taking drugs for RA.

Sugary soda could make you more likely to get RA.

Sugary soda could make you more likely to get RA.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Soft drinks may be hard on the molecules that fight inflammation and fend off RA. In a recent study, women who drank more than one sugar-loaded soda per day were 63% more likely to get RA than those who drank one or none a month. Drinking skim milk instead of pop appears to lower your chances, possibly due to the helpful effects of vitamin D.

If you have RA, exercise is bad for your joints.

If you have RA, exercise is bad for your joints.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Doctors recommend a balance between rest and exercise. Being active not only keeps your joints mobile and muscle tone healthy -- it also helps you sleep better and fights fatigue. If the exercise you're doing hurts, ask your doctor how to change it up so it's easier on your joints.

 

Researchers know that all of this occurs in rheumatoid arthritis, but they don't know what causes it in the first place.

Researchers think the cause of rheumatoid arthritis is tied to:

Researchers think the cause of rheumatoid arthritis is tied to:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

The precise cause of RA is unknown, but many factors are involved. Researchers have identified dozens of genes linked to the disease. They also think certain things in the environment, like viral or bacterial infections, may trigger it, although RA isn’t contagious. Changes in sex hormones -- especially in women -- also play a role, which may explain why three times as many women as men get RA.

Pregnancy can ease RA symptoms.

Pregnancy can ease RA symptoms.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

If you’re pregnant and have rheumatoid arthritis, your may get a break from symptoms for a while. A little more than half of the women who have RA say they feel better from the end of the first trimester through delivery. You may have a flare shortly after giving birth, though. Tell your doctor as soon as you know you’re expecting -- some medications can hurt your baby.

The sooner you’re in remission -- when disease symptoms go away for a while -- the longer it’s likely to last.

The sooner you’re in remission -- when disease symptoms go away for a while -- the longer it’s likely to last.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Tackle RA head-on, sooner rather than later. Doctors suggest you start out with disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs for short), which were once saved for later-stage treatment. These strong drugs can relieve RA symptoms and slow or even stop joint damage. The sooner, the better!

 

However, pregnant women with RA need to be very careful about medications they take during pregnancy.  Some RA drugs may increase the risk of miscarriage, premature birth, or birth defects. 

 

Most new mothers with RA experience a recurrence of symptoms in the weeks after pregnancy.

Which food could ease your symptoms?

Which food could ease your symptoms?

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Want a natural treatment? Fish oil, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, is the only one shown to relieve joint pain and stiffness. The best catches of the day if you have RA? Try herring, mackerel, salmon, or tuna.

Which critter could help create a new drug?

Which critter could help create a new drug?

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Parasitic worms make a compound that can calm your immune system. Researchers are working to turn this into a treatment for RA.

Bacterial Infections in your body might lead to RA.

Bacterial Infections in your body might lead to RA.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

People with RA are more likely to have specific types of bacteria in their gums and guts, where trillions of tiny organisms you can only see with a microscope live. Among other things, having too many of these bacteria can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis) or colon (colitis). Doctors think those conditions stir your immune system and may trigger the onset of RA.

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