Regardless of gender, age, or ethnic background, individuals all around the world are suffering from various aches and pains associated with a serious condition known as Rheumatoid Arthritis. Generally speaking, it is our joints that are most affected by this disease, however it can affect the various organs of the body as well. Despite no known cause of this disease, we can be assured that one simple nutritional change can be of benefit, drinking enough water. This paper will discuss some recommendations for proper water consumption with explanations as to its effect on Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Initial pain in the rheumatoid arthritic joint can be associated with water deficiency. Over 60% of the cartilage in our joint is made of water required for cushioning and optimal motion of the joint. When cartilage is properly hydrated the surfaces of the joint are able to move freely over one another as it is protected by synovial fluid, containing a high quantity of water. The movement of the joint creates a vacuum within the joint space. The joint cavity then attempts to get hydration from the bone and cartilage. Blood vessels dilate and water flows through the bone marrow to the cartilage, near the bone, in order to keep the joint hydrated and help with the movement. However, in the process of moving the joint, cells in our joints die as they get rubbed against each other, resulting in the need for new cell growth. In order for these cells to grow, they too need water. The body has an order of priority which means that water is provided first to the formation of new cells. Therefore, the more dehydrated we are, the less water available to supply the joint. Since the joint is unable to get adequate water, it then draws fluid from the joint capsule which contains serum and white blood cells. These fluids are not meant to be in the joint and the body reacts with an inflammatory response and a signal of pain.
Early signs of dehydration can be detected through sounds of cracking in the joint. Less
water means there is more room for air to pass through the bone marrow, leaving us with a need to “crack” the joint. The sound is from the amplified air bubbles popping as they pass into the localized joint from bone marrow.
Dr. Batmanghelidj in his book, “Your bodies many cries for water”, recommends that there should be adjustments made to water consumption in order to help treat the pains associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis. More water means better availability of water to hydrate the cartilage of the joint in order to help with the joints movement. On a daily basis, 2 ½ litres of water should be consumed with even more intake if you drink caffeinated beverages such as coffee. Coffee has a diuretic effect which results in increased fluid loss from the body. It is very important when increasing water that you also notice an increase in the amount of urine your body is excreting. If there is no increase, you should consult a physician to insure your kidneys are functioning properly. If pain still persists, further investigative procedures should be done.
To deal with this pain, people with rheumatoid arthritis often take aspirin as a coping mechanism. The problem with aspirin is it blocks the body’s thirst signals which than lead to higher levels of dehydration and the likelihood that more and more places in the body will feel the effects of Rheumatoid Arthritis. This creates a cycle of increased need of pain suppressors and of course, more water.
Water has an amazing effect on our bodies, which makes complete sense if we consider the fact that our bodies are 75% water. If water intake was increased as soon as initial signals of Rheumatoid Arthritis were detected, improvements would be noticed fairly rapidly. If, however, improvements are not noticed after a few days of increased water intake in conjunction with some light movement of the joint, you should consult your physician to have additional testing completed.