Facts About Rheumatoid Arthritis in America

Nobody wants to be told they have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). As with all arthritis types there’s no medical or natural cure. However, many patients are experiencing natural pain relief and symptom reduction using supplementation to avoid the side effects of drugs.

Pain is the body's warning system, and it should be taken seriously, not ignored.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain Joints

RA statistics show 1.3 million Americans are affected by the disease, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Research Portfolio on RA dated March 29, 2013. Current information from the Arthritis Foundation web page, "What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis", reveals 1.5 million people have the disease.

RA affects everyone, including children--300,000 children have some form of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA).

Rheumatoid arthritis is the second leading type of arthritis in America, but trails far behind the leader, osteoarthritis, which the Arthritis Foundation said affects 31 million Americans.

RA is the most common of autoimmune arthritis diseases

In the May-June, 2007 issue of Arthritis Today, it was reported that rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis of the autoimmune diseases. Other arthritis-related autoimmune diseases include juvenile arthritis, lupus, ankylosing spondylitis, scleroderma, Chrohn’s disease, Sjogren’s Syndrome and Reynaud’s Phenomenon to name a few.

Arthritis Today reported there are more than 100 different kinds of arthritis and most of them involve inflammation. When a patient gets a diagnosis, there is a process of elimination in order to arrive at the proper diagnosis. This process is called “differential diagnosis.”

Differential diagnosis can be a difficult undertaking because so many forms of arthritis, particularly inflammatory forms of arthritis look alike. The doctor needs to determine what is rheumatoid arthritis, versus other arthritis types.

RA's functional limitations worse than for osteoarthritis

The functional status of people with rheumatoid arthritis is worse than for osteoarthritis, according to Rheumatoid Arthritis.org web page outlining the difference in symptoms between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Here is a comparison between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis symptoms:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms have a rather rapid onset where the condition can worsen in a matter of weeks. Osteoarthritis symptoms slowly develop and gradually worsen over a long period of time.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms affect joints all the over the body including hands, fingers, elbows, knees, and hips. Osteoarthritis frequently affects the small finger joints and thumb, as well as the knees. Rheumatoid arthritis always affects multiple joints, whereas osteoarthritis may only affect one particular joint or area of the body.

  • At the onset of rheumatoid arthritis, symptoms like fatigue, fever, weight loss, and loss of appetite are indicative of the disease’s development. Osteoarthritis doesn’t produce these types of additional symptoms.

  • One common characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis is that it produces symmetrical symptoms, meaning both sides of the body are affected similarly. Osteoarthritis doesn’t necessarily produce the same symptoms. It’s based entirely on wear and tear levels in individual joints.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms also include prolonged morning stiffness lasting greater than 30 minutes. Osteoarthritis patients may feel morning stiffness, but it generally subsides within the first 30 minutes.

  • RA often goes into remission in pregnant women, although symptoms tend to increase in intensity after the baby is born. The disease develops more often than expected the year after giving birth. While women are two to three times more likely to get RA than men, men tend to be more severely affected when they get RA.

Arthritis is leading cause of disability in U.S.

In an article entitled Prevalence of Doctor Diagnosed Arthritis and Athritis-Attributable Activity Limitation—United States, 2003-2005 dated October 13, 2006, it was stated: “Arthritis is highly prevalent among U.S. adults, the leading cause of disability, and associated with substantial activity limitation, work disability, reduced quality of life, and high health care costs. As the population ages, arthritis is expected to affect an estimated 67 million adults in the U.S. by 2030.”

The article, using data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) for 2003-2005, indicated that an estimated 21.6% of the U.S. population (46 million persons) had doctor-diagnosed arthritis, and 8.3% (17.4 million persons) had arthritis-attributable activity limitations.

Included in the statistics were doctor-diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, fibromyalgia and other arthritis types. The findings in the report are subject to the limitation that doctor-diagnosed arthritis was self-reported and not confirmed by a health-care professional, although self-report of arthritis has been determined valid for surveillance purposes.

For further information on rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, click on this link: Living with RA.

Natural rheumatoid arthritis pain treatment is increasing

Choosing natural rheumatoid arthritis pain treatment is on the increase when conventional drug therapies are of concern or have not provided acceptable results.

According to an online article in Prime, a provider of continuing medical education, posted Sept. 8, 2006 under the title What Do You Know About Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)?, it was reported that 33% of adults use CAM, and this has increased over time since the last related study in the late 1990’s. The article states that “alternative medicine appeals to patients as being more natural, or less harmful than standard therapy.”

According to a national consumer survey conducted in May, 2008 by the U.S. Government National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and the AARP, almost two-thirds of people age 50 or older are using some form of CAM, yet less than one-third of these CAM users talk about it with their providers.

The NCCAM/AARP survey revealed some reasons why this doctor-patient dialogue about CAM does not occur. The most common reasons survey respondents cited were:

  • That the physician never asked
  • They did not know they should discuss CAM
  • There was not enough time during the office visit

More than one-half of respondents who had talked about CAM with their physician said they (not their physician) initiated the CAM discussion. The telephone survey was administered to a nationally representative group of 1,559 people age 50 or older.

Rheumatoid arthritis research has found many studies that found the use of natural substances helpful in managing rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

"Buyer beware" is the watchword of dietary supplement industry

Consumers are becoming increasingly aware that natural dietary supplements can relieve rheumatoid arthritis pain and improve health. Unfortunately, natural supplements are part of a “buyer beware” industry. For 16 years from 1994 the industry had no manufacturer's guidelines. This opened the door to a flood of substandard, ineffective and adulterated products.  As a regulatory answer to these problems, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) introduced the current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs) which were fully implemented in 2010.

Immediately, these rules were lampooned by health and industry critics as "too lax", "too loose", and "lacking teeth".  Specifically, pundits said the law did not require standardized testing protocols for manufacturers.  Instead, it allows just "one test" for compliance, without specifying what test equipment should be utilized..  The cGMPs also do not require clinical testing whatsoever nor proof of efficacy.  In addition, the FDA does not approve a dietary supplement before marketing--it doesn't even see the product.  The FDA doesn't have the resources to conduct facilities inspections except on a very small percentage of manufacturers annually.  And finally, the FDA's oversight involvement is primarily AFTER consumers report adverse health events.

This means presently you must be careful when choosing a natural dietary supplement. There’s a wide variance in supplement quality and in recent years the industry has been plagued by a few unscrupulous companies and many instances of marketing hype.

The gold standard for high quality dietary supplements is placebo controlled, double blind clinical studies. Such studies are required by the FDA for pharmaceutical drugs but aren’t required for dietary supplements. Even the current cGMPs do not require studies for supplements.

You've found a winner for sure if you can find a company whose studies have been published in peer-reviewed respected medical journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, The American Journal of Cardiology, or The Journal of the American Medical Association. And we did!

Only one dietary supplement company has a 20-year landmark study

The purchase of dietary supplements should be considered as an investment in your health.  If so, you won't want to waste money on poorly formulated or synthetic supplements containing artificial colors, sweeteners, binders, fillers, etc. that will not be readily absorbed into your bloodstream.

Instead, you'll want a high quality dietary supplement with ingredient purity, potency, and guaranteed efficacy that your body's cells will happily absorb.

To help me find a top-tier manufacturer, I devised a list of 30 questions concerning standards of excellence that led my husband and I to the company referenced in the Landmark Study below. It's the only one that we trust for natural nutritional and herbal supplementation.

There's only one dietary supplement company (the Shaklee Corporation) that's so different from other companies it that can claim a 20-year clinical study on its consumers that verifies from blood samples that its supplement users retained normal levels of blood pressure, HDL, cholesterol, triglycerides, C-reactive protein and homocysteine.

The 2006 study was conducted in collaboration with researchers from the U.C. Berkeley School of Public Health comparing one company's supplement users to people who took either no supplements or other brands of multivitamins from different companies. For details, go to:

The natural dietary supplement company above that my husband and I use has invested more than $250 million in clinical testing, research and development and has over 100 published studies in peer-reviewed scientific journals—more than any other nutritional company! This company, founded in 1956, stands out as the gold standard in the natural dietary supplement industry.

Featured natural rheumatoid arthritis pain relief

For rheumatoid arthritis pain relief I specifically recommend three natural pain products.

More and more people today are choosing safer alternatives to treat joint pain and inflammation due to rheumatoid arthritis. The following products ease symptoms and help people lead a more comfortable life (the bold links for the supplements listed will take you without obligation to the manufacturer's product pages for prices and additional information on each. Unbold links lead to separate ingredient pages on this website):

    Glucosamine & Boswellia Joint Relief

    Clinical studies indicate that glucosamine hydrochloride is most effective when arthritis symptoms are moderate to severe. Glucosamine has the ability to rebuild cartilage for joint health and comfortable movement. Formulated with the addition of clinically proven boswellia extract, this product provides faster relief in as little as one week as it lubricates and cushions joints to provide enhanced mobility and range of motion.

    Boswellia and Safflower Oil Pain Relief

    When the boswellia herb and oil from the safflower are used in combination, it creates a potent, natural arthritis pain relief supplement without gastrointestinal side effects. In studies, these two ingredients together are more effective when combined, that they are separately. Boswellia extract is a very potent 5 Lox inhibitor. The safflower extract contains a potent ingredient that is a very selective Cox 2 inhibitor. Therefore, this product is effective against both the 5 Lox and Cox 2 pain pathways--both of the major pathways--which is the only product on the market of its kind. Its formulation and synergy is so unique that there's a patent pending on this supplement.

    Menthol Pain Relief Rub

    This topical menthol analgesic provides temporary relief (up to four hours) for minor pain associated with backache, arthritis, bruises and sprains. It offers fast absorption and deep penetration to soothe aching joints and muscles on contact. In addition to menthol, it contains a proprietary blend of natural ingredients that targets the source of discomfort and provides quick relief by improving blood circulation in the affected area.

    (Editor's note:  We refer to the above three products as the Shaklee Pain Trio).

    Fish Oil (EPA) - (Essential Omega-3 Fatty Acids)

    This fish oil supplement provides a full spectrum of seven ultrapure omega-3 fatty acids, naturally found in cold water fish (tuna, mackerel, halibut, cod, salmon). High in DHA and EPA, it supports joint function due to its anti-inflammatory properties and is easy to digest with low odor and no aftertaste. It also helps to maintain a healthy heart and cardiovascular system.

    GLA and Vitamin E Complex

    Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) from borage seed oil is used as an anti-inflammatory. GLA helps our bodies form prostaglandins - potent hormone-like substances that help regulate many bodily processes. When combined with Vitamin E and sunflower seed oil, the formula helps maintain cellular integrity.

    Valerian, Passion Flower and Chamomile Sleep Aid

    As a natural alternative, valerian root side effects are few, and minor by comparison to pharmaceutical drugs. In fact for an insomnia remedy it has good tolerability. Most studies suggest that it’s more effective when used continuously rather than as a one-night sleep aid. However many individuals successfully use it on a need-only basis. An advantage of valerian over drugs is the lack of sleepiness on awakening when used at recommended dosages. This supplement also contains a complementary blend of two additional herbs, chamomile and passion flower. Together, they provide a calm state and promotes restful sleep.

Recommended supplements for rheumatoid arthritis

The three pain products were introduced in 2003 as a balanced pain relief program that's so good my husband and I are now completely free of pharmaceutical drugs of any kind. We both have osteoarthritis, not rheumatoid arthritis, however, the Arthritis Foundation in its publication Arthritis Today on June 6, 2007 included the ingredients in these three products as potentially helpful for rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

Our symptoms, including pain, are controlled. My husband's knees used to swell so much he could barely get in and out of a car. Using these products he was able to continue playing tennis three times a week for 12 years until left knee replacement in 2015, and right knee replacement in 2016. Today, he plays tennis three to four times a week and continues his regimen using the three products. His right shoulder still has osteoarthritis, but pain is diminished and movement is enhanced using the same products.

It's for these reasons that I recommend this company's trio of natural joint pain products (scroll linked page for My Arthritis Story) for safe and natural rheumatoid arthritis treatment.

Disclaimer: Health statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Shaklee About Us.  What has driven the Shaklee Difference since the beginning is a scientific approach to unlocking nature's secrets.  They strive to discover ingredients and create formulas that support health, some of which have been true breakthroughs.  They are committed to continually assessing ways to provide innovative and scientifically validated products.

Beyond Organic   This is the Shaklee philosophy that their quality standards go beyond how and where an ingredient is grown.  They look to confirm the purity and potency of ingredients AFTER harvest to guarantee that the final finished product is free of hundreds of chemical contaminants. Safety is their highest concern.  Their manufacturing practices guarantees the highest standards of safety.

Herbal Pain Relief. In the last twenty years in the United States, the public has become increasingly dissatisfied with the cost and side effect risks of prescription medications. This, combined with an interest in returning to natural or organic remedies, has lifted herbal supplements and alternative medicines to higher popularity in the United States than ever before for treatment of arthritis pain. Click here for background on herbal medicine

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