Rheumatoid Arthritis: NHS on common signs and symptoms
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Arthritis and other joint problems are a common issue in the UK, affecting around 10 million people. Depending on the form of arthritis you have it can cause joint stiffness, pain and swelling. It can also cause mobility issues, causing a lot of sufferers to avoid exercise.
However, a certain amount of physical activity could actually be beneficial to those with joint conditions.
One study, published in The Journal of Physical Therapy Science in 2016, advocated for regular aerobic exercise – also known as cardio – among patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is the second most common form of arthritis in the UK and occurs when the body’s immune system targets affected joints.
More specifically, the research found that combining cardio three times a week with the daily consumption of green tea had the best results.
As part of the study, 120 rheumatoid arthritis patients with an average age of 60, were divided into groups.
They were either treated with infliximab (an existing drug for rheumatoid arthritis), green tea, exercise or a combination of two out of the three.
Both the use of green tea and exercise separately and together were shown to be “as effective” as the infliximab, however, the combination was most powerful.
The study said: “This study showed that green tea and exercise either alone or in combination provide positive effects on disease activity among patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
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“The possible mechanism(s) might be related to the potential antioxidant activity and anti-inflammatory of both green tea polyphenols and exercise and their effects of preservation of cartilage integrity and suppression of the bone loss process.
“In conclusion, in the present study, clinical improvements in disease activity, health quality, and bone resorption and formation biomarkers were observed in all RA patients following green tea and exercise therapy interventions.
“The data suggested that green tea and exercise might be of interest in RA therapy depending on the patient’s needs and disease activity status.”
It added: “The European League Against Rheumatism and American College of Rheumatology scores revealed more clinical improvement in the disease activity of rheumatoid arthritis patients treated with green tea along with exercise compared with rheumatoid arthritis patients treated with infliximab or exercise combinations.
“This may have been due to the higher potential antioxidant activity of green tea (89.6 percent to 96.5 percent).
“Both exercise and green tea interventions appeared to be beneficial as non-drug modulates for rheumatoid arthritis disorders.”
The exercise programme was supervised and consisted of 45-minute sessions, two to three times a week for six months.
Patients who consumed green tea were given four to six cups a day for six months.
Other studies have also looked at the potential benefits of green tea on arthritis.
One, published in Arthritis Research and Therapy in 2011, found the drink was effective at reducing IL-1β-induced inflammatory cytokines – one of the causes of osteoarthritis.
It said: “The use of green tea polyphenols may be beneficial as a therapeutic addition to biologics that control IL-1β activity by increasing effectiveness and/or reducing dosage.”
Symptoms of arthritis can include:
- Joint pain, tenderness and stiffness
- Inflammation in and around the joints
- Restricted movement of the joints
- Warm red skin over the affected joint
- Weakness and muscle wasting.
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