The inflammatory processes that cause allergies and arthritis are similar. Your immune system overreacts to something in both conditions.
Reducing the impact allergies have on your arthritis can be done effectively by treating and managing both conditions. We will look at the current research and what treatments are available.
The two most common types of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA). RA is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue, primarily in the joints. OA is usually the result of long-term wear-and-tear on a joint, or joint damage caused by a major injury.
There are several studies that show an overall association between the two conditions and their risk factors.
For example, a
Some allergy-arthritis connections are better studied than others. We will review what experts have discovered about allergies and arthritis.
Foods and certain ingredients that tend to increase inflammation in the body may also worsen arthritis symptoms. This includes added sugars, processed meats, and alcohol, among others.
Symptoms such as a stuffy nose, watery eyes, and sneezing can be caused by allergies to the environment. It can lead to fatigue and lessened activity levels, which can lead to joint pain.
Just as food allergies can increase the body’s inflammation levels and worsen joint pain, so too can seasonal allergies.
Do you remember how the flu can causes aches and pains while your body fights off an infection? This is because your immune system is working hard to overcome the virus, creating inflammation in your stomach, lungs, throat, and elsewhere. Seasonal allergies cause a similar process to occur as your immune system seeks to repel the allergen.
Drug allergies can be caused by one or more components of a medication. Some drug allergies are mild and not noticeable, while others can be life threatening.
Symptoms of a drug allergy can look like:
- There is a rash or hives.
- There is a high degree of fever.
- nausea or vomiting
- There is abdominal pain.
- breathing problems
Research into the effects of drug allergies on arthritis is relatively scarce. However, a
If you believe you or a loved one is experiencing the symptoms of a drug allergy — including chest pain, breathing problems, or loss of consciousness — seek emergency assistance.
Atopic dermatitis, a type of eczema, is caused by an irregular immune response that
People with atopic dermatitis have an increased risk of other autoimmune disorders, including RA, according to a
Rheumatoid arthritis can affect any joint, but the
When allergies affect RA, the joints already affected by arthritis are the ones that may experience worsening symptoms. The same is true for osteoarthritis, which can also affect any joint, but most commonly involves the knees, hips, spine, and hands.
It is important to manage both allergies and arthritis for the best total symptom relief and to lower inflammation levels to prevent future flares.
A two-fold approach is used to treat an allergy. The first thing to do is avoid being allergic. This could mean lifestyle behaviors such as staying indoors when the pollen count is high.
Taking medications to prevent an allergy flare-up is one of the approaches. If you have seasonal allergies, your doctor may give you a shot of allergy medication before allergy season starts.
Common medications used to treat allergies.
- antihistamines to block the effects of histamines — substances produced by the immune system in response to allergen exposure
- corticosteroids, either as topical creams and ointments, nasal sprays, or as oral medications
- decongestants to prevent blood vessels from constricting in your nose
- epinephrine, a synthetic hormone to treat severe allergic reactions, such as anaphylaxis
Using an air purifier with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter at home or work can also help clear allergens out of your immediate environment. These filters can also reduce airborne loads of viruses, such as COVID-19.
A multi-faceted approach is required to treat arthritis.
The gold-standard treatment for arthritis includes:
- During an arthritis flare-up, ice and rest are needed.
- Depending on the affected joint, knee braces or other means of support.
- Over-the-counter and prescription drugs.
- Physical therapy can help strengthen the muscles around an affected joint.
The immune system is related to both allergies and Rheumatoid arthritis, so both conditions are related. An irregular immune system response can be a cause of allergies and arthritis.
Doctors try to soothe acute symptoms while putting together a plan to prevent future flare-ups in arthritis and allergies. This may involve avoiding known triggers, lifestyle adjustments, and taking medication.
If you have an allergy, you should talk to your doctor about your risk factors for developing arthritis.