According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, around 700 out of 100,000 people over age 50 in the United States are suffering from polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR). This is an alarming number, to begin with.
Polymyalgia is a musculoskeletal disease. It usually starts with pain and numbness experienced in the shoulders and would progress quickly from there to the neck and arms. Other symptoms of PMR include sudden and unexplained weight loss, fever, muscle pain and discomfort, depression, reduced appetite, and fatigue. The common treatment for PMR is corticosteroid medication prescribed by a rheumatologist after a thorough examination of your laboratory results.
Avoid Foods that Cause Inflammation
However, you can help with your recovery and reduce the severity of symptoms by maintaining a healthy diet and exercise. You can relieve polymyalgia, an autoimmune disease, by limiting certain foods or replacing foods that cause inflammation and pain. It is important to consult your physician and your dietitian when attempting to modify your diet plan.
What foods cause inflammation in polymyalgia? Here are four common inflammatory foods that you must limit or scratch off entirely from your diet.
Avoid consuming food with high trans fats. This will help in reducing inflammation and also avoiding any risk for heart diseases. Trans fats work by increasing your LDL or bad cholesterol and lowering the HDL or good cholesterol. Some of the most popular sources of trans fats are cookies, crackers, pizza, French fries, and other fried foods. When checking out nutrition facts panel while shopping, look for the partially hydrogenated vegetable oil ingredient which signals trans fats.
Refined or low-fiber starches have a relatively high glycemic index. It can make your blood sugar shoot up which can spike inflammation. Examples of low-fiber starches include white bread, puffed rice, cornflakes, and instant potatoes. You can replace these low-fiber starches with nutritious alternatives like sweet potatoes, whole grains, brown rice, bran flakes, and oatmeal.
High Fat Dairy Products and Meat
These two combined is a red flag for those who are suffering from polymyalgia. High fat meat and dairies are considered to be the primary sources of saturated fat that precipitate inflammation. The inflammatory foods to avoid in this category are dark meat, steak, lamb, heavy cream, and whole milk. You can try their anti-inflammatory and low-fat alternatives such as fish, beans, lean meat, mackerel, fish oil, salmon, and low-fat milk. They are also rich in omega-3 and can lower your risk of heart disease.
Anything sweet is delectably tempting. Avoid too much consumption of sugary foods. The reason is that sweets can hamper your taste buds from eating nutritious foods like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. It can be difficult to cut back on sugar content especially if it’s sinfully delicious. Limit or totally avoid your intake of candies, cakes, and softdrinks. You may stick to its organic alternatives like herbal tea, apple slices, fruit juices, and water.
Ask the Expert
Before changing your diet, medication, and exercise plan, always seek the expert advice of your GP, rheumatologist or dietitian.
PMR patients under steroid treatments and methotrexate are always advised to increase calcium intake and drink lots of water. To reduce stiffness, exercise and keep your weight in the ideal range. Be aware of what triggers your pain to avoid exacerbating your polymyalgia symptoms.
There are no conclusive evidence to support claims that a particular diet can treat polymyalgia rheumatica. Nonetheless, sticking to a balanced diet and active lifestyle can help keep your body in optimal shape and top health. Eating a wide variety of foods especially fruits and vegetables and adequate water intake can revitalize energy levels, maintain your ideal weight, and improve your symptoms.