Menopausal woman often relate arthritis to menopause. However, research has not been able to directly link menopause and rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. They do know that when estrogen falls, a molecule known as CD16 increases. It is the molecule that regulates inflammation and it seems to strengthen the link between menopause and arthritis.
Are your joints aching? For the past several months, I’ve been waking with joint aches and began to attribute these symptoms to menopause. While researching the affects of joint pain, arthritis and menopause, it is not clear what the connection, if any, is. Here is what I did discover.
Joint pain is common in perimenopausal and menopausal women and the term “menopausal arthritis” has been used to describe the symptom. It can be debilitating and make simple tasks unbearable.
Joint pain is typically caused by hormonal imbalance like most menopausal symptoms. Although the connection of joint pain is still unclear, physicians believe that the diminished level of, particularly estrogen, plays a major role during menopause.
Other interacting symptoms for menopausal arthritis include:
*Osteoporosis: One connection appears to be estrogen, the hormone that decreases in menopausal women. As we begin the phase of perimenopause, bone loss and density diminish known as osteoporosis. Osteoporosis has been directly linked to lower levels of estrogen
*Muscle Mass Loss: During menopause, muscle mass decreases. Muscles are crucial for supporting aching joints
*Fatigue: As it is a common symptom of menopause, usually due to lack of sleep, it can cause arthritis symptoms such as joint pain
Here are two simple solutions to combat osteoporosis, muscle mass loss and fatigue, and inflammation:
1. Exercise: Regular exercise reduces joint pain and strengthens muscles to better support your joints. Movement can boost your endurance and cardiovascular health. Exercise has been proven to boost your mood and energy levels.
Begin to slowly exercise. As you become stronger, increase your exercise to 30 minutes a day for a minimum of 5 days a week. It natural to experience some muscle soreness post a workout, however, if it worsens two to three hours after, scale it back a little until your body stamina increases.
Some types of exercise include:
*Aerobic: to improve circulation and weight loss. Try walking, swimming o
*Strength training: builds muscles that support joints and increases endurance. Try weight lifting, resistance bands or watch this
*Stretching: improves flexibility and reduces soreness post workouts
2. Diet: What you eat matters. Vegetable and grains are a good way to improve health and feel better. Focus on whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and fatty fish such as:
*Omega 3s: to include flaxseed, salmon, tuna and halibut. They also fight mental fatigue
*Fiber: lowers inflammation. Include lentils, black beans and artichokes to your diet
*Olive Oil: plays a role in inflammation. Researchers say that 3 ½ tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil is equivalent to 200 mg of ibuprofen
*Onions: packed with antioxidants and reduce inflammation. Add them to your salad, sauté them and add to your meal
*Strawberries: also help inflammation. Use fresh or frozen. Add them to your oatmeal or yogurt
For more information on arthritis visit arthritis.org