People often discuss rheumatoid arthritis treatment options and keep an eye on new coming treatments. Patients with arthritis are interested in what might assist control rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and disease progression. But it's also crucial to be aware of the factors that might exacerbate arthritis symptoms. It's just as important to know what you shouldn't do as it is to know what you should.
Below are 7 things that can actually worsen your arthritis symptoms and decrease the effectiveness of rheumatoid arthritis treatment.
1. Failing to follow the treatment regimen
If you've been diagnosed with RA, your doctor will prescribe a treatment plan to help you manage your symptoms and disease activity. There is a higher chance of symptoms and disease activity if you don’t follow the treatment regimen (don't fill prescriptions, don’t take medications as recommended, don’t exercise, or miss appointments).
While your reasons for not following your treatment plan may be totally justified, you must discuss them with your doctor before making any changes to the prescribed regimen. A medication modification or the addition of treatment may be beneficial to you. Make sure you talk to your pain doctor about it and decide on your future steps together.
2. Eating inflammatory foods
Certain foods and additives can increase overall inflammation in the body, thus aggravating your rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. The list of foods that might aggravate inflammation includes sugar, saturated fats, trans fats, omega-6 fatty acids, refined carbohydrates, monosodium glutamate (MSG), gluten, aspartame, and alcohol.
A diet for people with RA should include anti-inflammatory foods. These include tomatoes, olive oil, green leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, and fatty fish.
3. Chronic stress
If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you most likely know that stress makes it worse. Many patients with RA may point to a stressful or traumatic incident that occurred just before a flare-up. If you want to keep your arthritis symptoms at bay, do your best to reduce your stress levels. Meditation or deep breathing can help you manage stress and prevent the worsening of arthritis symptoms.
4. Being sedentary
Regular physical activity is important for everyone, including those with rheumatoid arthritis, because it has various health advantages. It can help people with RA improve their muscle strength as well as their bone and joint health. Rest is also necessary to help the body recover from the continuous pain and exhaustion that arthritis causes.
Rest, on the other hand, cannot become a way of your life. It's best to maintain a balance between rest and exercise. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to increased pain, fatigue, and weakness, which is the exact opposite of what you need.
In rheumatoid arthritis patients, smoking is linked to increased disease activity, including more swollen joints and pain. Furthermore, smoking lowers bone mass, making you more vulnerable to another common type of arthritis called osteoporosis. Quitting smoking will improve your RA symptoms, lung health, bone health, and general health. If you cannot quit smoking on your own, consider asking your doctor for help.
6. Being dehydrated
Most people understand the importance of drinking enough water and being hydrated, but they don't always do so. Dehydration has been associated with fatigue, slowed metabolism, poor cognitive function, and kidney stone production. Lack of water has also been linked to greater joint pain.
7. Ignoring symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
It's common to think you injured yourself when you first notice the symptoms of RA. You wait for it to go away, and when it doesn't, you resort to self-medication with over-the-counter or home remedies. This delays the diagnosis and professional treatment. Early detection and treatment are crucial for slowing the progression of RA and avoiding joint deformity. Waiting too long might aggravate your RA.