Video Q & A:

RA Flares

Question:

What causes a rheumatoid arthritis flare-up?

Expert:   Harry D. Fischer, MD, Chief of Rheumatology, Beth Israel Medical Center New York »

Sometimes, you can prevent a RA flare by identifying your common triggers. In other instances, no triggers seem to exist. Get the details.

Transcript: Rheumatoid arthritis can flare up at seemingly random times. A person may go months BETWEEN flares, or they may have to contend with symptoms much more frequently. Whenever they appear, flares announce themselves by triggering painful and swollen joints, fatigue, a general “ill” feeling and stiffness in the morning or after a period of inactivity. Researchers haven’t been able to pinpoint what triggers a flare-up. But studies have led to some CLUES. Doctors believe that psychological stress makes rheumatoid arthritis worse. The stress might stimulate white blood cells, which increases inflammation. Although there hasn’t been ANY conclusive evidence that food allergies are to blame, one PRELIMINARY study indicates that cow’s milk, cereal, eggs, codfish and pork MAY trigger a flare. Some RA patients learn to predict their triggers by recording what they were doing and eating before a flare-up. Other people notice that their RA gets worse when there’s a sudden change in weather. OVER-DOING IT may also spark a RA flare. But other times, a flare may occur spontaneously and without any identifiable cause. Pregnant women with RA often experience a DECREASE in symptoms during their 9 months. BUT, a flare is likely to occur within a few weeks to six months of giving birth. Need to know more about rheumatoid arthritis? Watch additional videos in this series! More »

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