Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the joints.

It’s an autoimmune condition, in which your immune system mistakes the linings of your joints as “foreign,” and attacks and damages them, resulting in inflammation and pain.

This disease most often affects the distal joints symmetrically, for example, the hands, wrists, and knees.

About 1 percent of the American and African population lives with rheumatoid arthritis. According to a 2017 report in the journal Rheumatoid International, the prevalence of RA in the United States increased between 2004 and 2014, affecting about 1.3 million adults in 2014, and in Africa with about 9000 adults. (1)

Two to three times as many women as men develop RA, and 70 percent of people with RA are women, according to the Arthritis Foundation. (2)

Rheumatoid Arthritis vs. Osteoarthritis
There are several different kinds of arthritis (“arth” is Latin for “joint” and “itis” is Latin for “disease” or “inflammation”), including RA, osteoarthritis, gout, and lupus. (3) Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, affecting more than 30 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (4)

Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis affect the body differently.

In RA, the joint lining becomes inflamed and eventually erodes the joint.

But in osteoarthritis, the cartilage that covers the ends of the bones in a joint is damaged by multiple different causes, and it is considered more of a mechanical (wear and tear) disease.
Signs and Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a complex disease that is not well understood by medical practitioners or researchers. Early signs of disease, such as joint swelling, joint pain, and joint stiffness, typically begins in a gradual and subtle way, with symptoms slowly developing over a period of weeks to months and getting worse over time. RA usually begins in the small bones of the hands and wrists.

RA is a progressive disease. When left untreated, inflammation can start to develop in other parts of the body, causing various potentially serious complications that can affect other organs, such as the heart, lungs, and nerves, and could cause significant long-term disability. If you’re experiencing RA symptoms, it’s crucial to get diagnosed as soon as possible so that you can receive prompt treatment.

How Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosed?
While no single test can definitively diagnose RA, doctors consider several factors when evaluating a person for rheumatoid arthritis.

The diagnostic process typically begins when a doctor gets your medical history and conducts a physical exam. After symptoms are discussed and evaluated, blood tests for rheumatoid factor and other antibodies are ordered. Imaging tests such as X-ray, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imagery (MRI) scans may be used to help a doctor determine if your joints have been damaged, or to detect joint inflammation, erosion, and fluid buildup. Risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis include a personal history of smoking and a family history of RA.

What’s the #1 Tip for Someone With RA?
The Development of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Within the body, joints are the points where bones come together and allow for movement. Most of these joints — those called synovial joints — allow movement between the bones and provide shock absorption.

Common health in women

FDA: Breast Implants Basically Safe, But Won’t Last a Lifetime
Complications will require many women to undergo additional surgery within 10 years, agency says

WEDNESDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) — Silicone-gel breast implants don’t last forever, with as many as half of women with the devices requiring removal within 10 years of the initial surgery, U.S. health officials said Wednesday.

And “the longer a woman has the implants, the more likely she is to experience complications,” Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, director for the Center for Devices and Radiological Health at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said during a press briefing.

The report released Wednesday said one in five women who receives silicone-gel implants to increase the size of their breasts will need to have these devices removed within 10 years of implant due to complications. And as many as half of women who receive implants for reconstruction after breast surgery will need them removed within the same time frame.

The difference in rates has to do with how much healthy tissue the woman has to support the implants, FDA explained.

Common complications include: capsular contracture, which is hardening of the area around the implant; the need for additional surgeries; and implant removal. Other frequent problems include implant rupture, wrinkling, breast asymmetry, scarring, pain and infection, the FDA said.

These are basically the same complications noted when the two silicone-gel implants available in the United States were returned to the market in 2006, the FDA said.

Until 2006, silicone-gel implants had been banned by the FDA for 14 years because of concerns about possible links to several diseases, including cancer and lupus.

On Wednesday, agency said, “Preliminary data doesn’t show an increased risk of breast cancer or connective tissue disease such as rheumatoid arthritis. But to rule those out, we need studies that are larger and longer than those conducted thus far.”

The FDA had said recently that breast implants may be linked to a higher risk of a rare form of lymphoma called anaplastic large cell lymphoma, but FDA noted that those risks are actually “profoundly slim.”

The findings announced Wednesday were based on preliminary data from six ongoing post-approval studies conducted by Allergan and Mentor, the two companies that manufacture the silicone-gel breast implants. The studies were mandated by the FDA as a condition of approval back in 2006.

But the companies have acknowledged problems with poor patient follow-up, to monitor their health. The situation is “improving,” FDA said, but wouldn’t say what the rate of follow-up is at this point.

The new report concerned only silicone gel-filled implants, not saline implants.

For now, the FDA recommends that women: follow-up regularly with their doctor, which includes occasional MRIs to detect potential ruptures; pay attention to any changes and notify their health-care provider if they notice any unusual symptoms such as pain, asymmetry or swelling; and educate themselves on the signs and symptoms of complications.

Women who have agreed to participate in a study should stay involved.

The implants are safe if “used for the right patient population and the right circumstances, and that is that they are surgically implanted properly and that women continue to have appropriate follow-up,” agency said.

“If women don’t have any symptoms or signs, there’s really nothing to do [except follow-up regularly with their doctor],” agency said. “At 10 years, most women won’t have to take the implant out but, if you need to have it removed, you should have it removed.”

According to agency, an estimated 5 million to 10 million women worldwide have breast implants.

More FDA advisory panel meetings are planned on the implants.

Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, said the FDA’s position that “although silicone breast implants have ‘a reasonable assurance of safety . . . the longer a woman has breast implants, the more likely she is to experience local complications or adverse outcomes,’ is unquestionably shortsighted as well as contradictory.”

“Public Citizen continues to oppose the FDA’s 2006 decision to return silicone breast implants to the market for cosmetic use in women for augmentation,” FDA said in a news release. “The agency’s newer information about the risk of implant-associated lymphoma and the previously known risks are serious enough to warrant advising women against having these implanted.”

Why women cheat

Men’s penchant for infidelity may attract much of the attention when it comes to cheating, but women aren’t immune. Understand why women cheat, why men cheat, and how couples can work to keep infidelity out of a relationship.

When it comes to infidelity, there are a number of myths and misconceptions. First of all, infidelity isn’t limited to sex or physical contact. And second, men aren’t the only ones who cheat.

Women also seek comfort and satisfaction (in and out of the bedroom) outside of their marriages, and almost as frequently as men do, It’s estimated that the number of men who cheat on their wives is up to 60 percent. But as many as 55 percent of women also cheat, according to research a number that’s climbing and today is likely on a par with men’s statistics.

It’s also important to clarify that you don’t have to have sex to commit infidelity. Infidelity can be “some kind of inappropriate intimacy outside their relationship, be it emotional or physical,”

“Most affairs are not always about sex.”

Cyber-Cheating

For instance, cyber affairs are allowing computers to invade the bedroom in more ways than one. “Cheating” can occur online, without ever having sex or even seeing the other person, but it’s certainly an act of unfaithfulness. A recent study found that while a man didn’t consider an online affair to be cheating because there was no physical contact, his wife disagreed. During the course of therapy to help repair the marriage, other problems gnawing away at the couple before the online affair surfaced, such as a lack of communication, being unhappy with their sex life, and simply feeling bored. But the study also indicated that people may cheat (at least online) without those marital problems.

Something Is Missing

Why are so many men and women willing to break their marriage vows? Some women who cheat have some type of mental illness or personality disorder. But primarily why women cheat is because there is an emotional disconnect or feeling of neglect, “In many cases of infidelity, it is about feeling emotionally connected to someone.”

Women and men cheat because they’re simply missing something in their relationship. When women start to feel disconnected and distant, loneliness and depression can set in. Eventually, they may look outside their relationship for someone who can meet their emotional and physical needs and ease their loneliness.

4 Reasons Women Cheat
Relationship problems may trigger infidelity and explain why women cheat. The reasons may include:

1. To get out of a bad relationship. Women who cheat may want to escape their relationship, and not know how to do it. Sometimes it’s too hard to say you want out, so women cheat instead. Infidelity “is a way of sabotaging the relationship because for whatever reason the woman is already unhappy, dissatisfied, disgruntled, and wants out.
To find that spark. With money worries, exhaustion, bills, and kids, the spark that kept a relationship hot at first can often fizzle out. “Romance can get lost in the day-to-day routine of life, Even if they’re not on the hunt for an affair, some women may become seduced by the temptation of the “high” that comes with any new relationship.
An unsatisfying sex life. If the sex isn’t satisfying and a woman isn’t feeling emotionally fulfilled in her relationship, “her interest may wander toward other men.

A woman can also start to feel like she’s unattractive or her partner doesn’t desire her if their sex life is slow.
Revenge and retaliation. If a husband has cheated, sometimes a woman may cheat to get back at him. It’s an effort to get the husband to feel “the hurt, anger, and jealousy that she felt.
Women Who Cheat: Problems Within

Low self-esteem can be another reason why women cheat. “Gaining attention from men can boost their self-confidence and self-esteem, “Compliments, phone calls, flowers, and notes from another man are flattering and make a woman feel more attractive and wanted.”

Another reason why women — and men — cheat is that they do what they know. If they saw infidelity in their parents’ relationship, both men and women may follow those patterns in their own lives.

Women vs. Men

Women who cheat do so for many of the same reasons that men do — attraction issues, unsatisfying sex life, unhappy relationship, feelings of neglect, looking for an ego boost, and a disconnect in the marriage.

“Women are not that different from men when it comes to cheating, except that they are more apt to fall in love with their new partner, The reason is hormonal — oxytocin, a hormone, stimulates the brain to give a woman that rush from being in love.

Perhaps because of that, women are also more likely to care about the emotional aspects of infidelity when their partners cheat. In a recent study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, female victims of cheating asked about sex in just 29 percent of cases but about love in 71 percent of cases, compared with 57 percent and 43 percent of cases, respectively, for men.

Working on Intimacy

If you want to protect your relationship from the temptation (and destruction) of infidelity, know that it needs to be nurtured and cared for — water it, feed it, give it love and sunlight to watch it grow and blossom. Thanks

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10 Healthy Vagina Facts Every Woman Should Know
Including how you should be cleaning it.

By preciousunday
Feb 19, 2019
Sure, your vagina has been with you your entire life, but how much do you actually know about it? Whether you’ve been too shy to ask or don’t know where to look for information, chances are there are plenty of things that you’ve wondered about the area down there. From what to expect after childbirth to normal sexual functions, read on to find out surprising facts you may not know about your lady parts.

1. What you eat can affect your vagina.
When the pH of our vaginas is thrown off, it can lead to infections, bad odor, and more. A balanced vaginal pH should be in the range of 3.8 to 4.5. One way to keep the balance of your vaginal pH within the healthy range is by consuming foods associated with good vagina health, like yogurt, probiotics, and cranberries. A study published in Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics gave pregnant women with yeast infections honey and yogurt and found that the mixture had similar effects to anti-fungal medications in treating yeast infections. Cranberries, too, are good for your vagina health, specifically in the treatment of urinary tract infections (UTIs). A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the consumption of one 240-mL serving of cranberry beverage a day for 24 weeks lowered the risk of UTIs in women with a recent history of developing UTIs. Lastly, consuming probiotics, or live bacteria and yeasts that keep your body healthy, can help keep your vaginal pH levels balanced to prevent infections, according to Healthline. Probiotic-rich foods include yogurt, kefir, and kimchi.

2. Using condoms can protect against harmful STIs.
This is a friendly reminder to keep practicing safe sex, even if you feel comfortable enough to go condom-free with your partner. According to Everyday Health, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), like syphilis, HIV, genital herpes, gonorrhea, genital warts, and chlamydia are transferrable through bodily contact with infected body fluids, though using condoms prevents the infections from spreading to your partner.

3. It cleans itself.
Step away from the soap and harsh cleansers, ladies: Your vagina keeps itself clean all on its own. “It’s lined by a variety of glands that produce the fluids needed to both lubricate and cleanse the vaginal area,” says Lisa Stern, APRN, vice president of medical services at Planned Parenthood in Los Angeles. “The vast majority of vaginal infections I see in my office are self-induced — generally by women who think they’re doing a good thing by washing their vagina with soap and water, or worse, with douche.” Bath products, particularly those with chemical dyes or fragrances, can irritate the vagina and wash away the beneficial lubricants and flora (bacteria and yeast) that are normal and natural, she says. When these beneficial compounds get washed away, anaerobic bacteria and yeast proliferate and can cause symptoms like discharge, odor and itching. Lesson learned: While a little mild soap on the labia area is OK, your body does a fine job of keeping the insides clean.

6 Vaginal Odors to Put on Your Radar
4. It grows in size when aroused.
“The average length of a vagina is 3 to 4 inches long,” says Lissa Rankin, M.D., gynecologist and author of What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend. Sounds sort of small, and possibly unaccommodating to your well-endowed husband or partner, right? Fear not, nature makes room. “It can double in length when aroused,” Dr. Rankin explains.

But Dr. Rankin adds that many women still have pain during sex when their partner is on the larger side. She recommends using plenty of lubricant and going slow. “Encourage your partner to have fun with foreplay,” she says. “The more aroused you feel, the less intercourse will hurt.”

5. Just like your face, your vagina also wrinkles with age.
It’s a fact of life: The appearance of your lady parts may change with age. “The labia may become less plump as estrogen levels wane, fatty pads in the labia shrink, and less collagen can lead to more sagging,” Dr. Rankin says. “The skin of the vulva may darken or lighten and the clitoris may shrink. It’s normal either way.” Scary? Nah. “These changes, which are often related to decreasing levels of estrogen, do not affect how much pleasure your girl parts can bring you.”

6. You can’t really “lose” something in your vagina, like a tampon.
Everyone’s heard the myth that things can go missing in there. “The vagina is bounded at the inner end by the cervix and by the vagina’s own tissue,” says Stern. In other words, your vagina is not connected to another area of your body so don’t worry about anything going missing! However, “Sometimes a tampon can get lodged deep inside the vagina, like if it’s accidentally left in place during intercourse. If this happens, your healthcare provider should be able to remove it easily with a speculum and forceps,” she says.

7. Some women ejaculate with orgasm.
“It definitely happens, and it’s not uncommon,” Dr. Rankin says. “It seems to be a learned skill and happens more commonly as women get older and learn how their bodies work.” So how does it happen? “There are glands around the urethra — the tube between the bladder and the outside world — that probably secrete fluid, particularly when the anterior wall of the vagina (a.k.a. the G Spot) is stimulated.” Beverly Whipple, Ph.D., R.N., a sexuality researcher and professor at Rutgers College of Nursing, describes this area as “‘the female prostate,’ a collection of glands, blood vessels, nerves, and spongy tissue that, when stimulated, seem to create fluid in some women.”

8. Your vagina may change dramatically after childbirth.
“Post-childbirth the vagina doesn’t so much look different as it feels different,” says Dr. Rankin. “As a gynecologist, I can almost always tell if a woman has delivered vaginally or not. I need a larger speculum for a woman who has had two kids than for a childless woman. But from the outside, you can’t tell unless a woman has torn during childbirth, in which case she may have a faint scar at the site of her tear or episiotomy.” If you’re uncomfortable with the way your vagina has stretched and changed after childbirth, Rankin has a one-word recommendation: Kegels! “These exercises can really help,” she says. A refresher course: You can do them anywhere, anytime. Just squeeze the muscles you use to start and stop the flow of urine, holding for a few seconds at a time, and repeating in sets of 10 — or more, if you’re up to the task!

7 Things Your Gyno Wishes You’d Ask
9. You can keep your vagina in shape.
“It’s true that the vagina stays healthier when you’re using it with some regularity,” Dr. Rankin says. “Not only does sex keep the sensitive vaginal tissue healthy, but it’s almost as if your yoni has a memory. If you keep reminding your vagina that it has a purpose beyond reproduction, it’s likely to rise to the occasion.” Case in point: If you neglect your vagina for too long (no sex, no Kegel exercises, etc.), the vaginal walls can become fragile, she says. And when menopause strikes, it may scar and close off a bit. But sex isn’t the only answer: Your doctor can suggest specific exercises and instruments that can help the vagina stay in tip-top shape.

10. Vaginal discharge varies from woman to woman.
Dr. Rankin notes that the average amount of vaginal discharge a woman of reproductive age secretes over a period of eight hours weighs 1.55 grams (a gram is equivalent to about 1/4 teaspoon). But, some women produce much less and others produce much more — and the variations are completely normal! “You produce the greatest amount of discharge (1.96 grams) around the time of ovulation,” she says. “Of course, every woman is different. Some women have ectropion, when the mucous-producing glands that are usually on the inside of the cervix evert onto the outside of the cervix. If your cervix has this normal feature, you may produce more cervical mucous, which increases the amount of vaginal discharge you have. Some women produce very scant amounts of discharge and others make much more. In the absence of infection, it’s normal either way.” And the color? It varies, too — and just because there’s a pigment to it, doesn’t mean you have an infection. “Normal vaginal discharge is whitish, but may appear yellowish when it dries,” she says. “But if your vaginal discharge appears greenish when wet, you have itching or burning, your discharge smells extra-fishy or you think you’re at risk for STDs, get it checked just to be on the safe side.”

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