Do you or someone you know have rheumatoid arthritis? This is a joint condition that is commonly abbreviated RA. If there is a familial history of the condition, you may be concerned that you are at risk for developing it too.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, the condition affects almost three times as many women as men, and unfortunately there is not a cure for it. Do not let this scare you because there are a number of treatments available, and working closely with a rheumatologist, like those at Arthritis & Rheumatology Associates of South Jersey, is the best way to determine the best course of treatment for you or your loved one.
Increased Risk for Heart Disease
Research suggests that there is an increased risk for heart attacks in people who have RA. You can reduce this risk by living a healthy lifestyle which includes a healthy diet and exercise. You also need to ensure you have regular check-ups that monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It may even be worth it to invest in blood pressure cuff system to use at home.
Fish Oil Can Positively Impact the Need for Medications
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are sometimes prescribed to control the pain and inflammation episodes of RA. One study concluded that consuming omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the amount of medication that patients need to take to keep their symptoms under control.
Smoking Increases Your Risk for RA
If you have already been diagnosed with RA, it may be helpful to discuss a smoking cessation plan with your doctor. Those who do not have rheumatoid arthritis need to be aware that smoking increases their chances of developing the condition, even if they are not heavy smokers.
RA Affects People of All Ages
Some people assume that this joint condition only affects older people when in fact children have been diagnosed with RA too. It may be more common in middle age and elderly people, but age should not give anyone a false sense of being protected from developing rheumatoid arthritis.
Early Intervention Can Yield Better Treatment Results
Take any signs of joint stiffness seriously. Some people may assume that the stiffness is not serious, especially if it is intermittent rather than constant stiffness. They may assume that the signs are due to something else such as aging or living an active lifestyle. Some people may also notice other symptoms along with the joint stiffness such as loss of appetite or depression.