Following some basic steps can help improve one function and ability to maintain a healthy life with arthritis.
People with rheumatoid arthritis need more rest when the disease is active. Rest helps to reduce active joint inflammation and pain and to fight fatigue. The length of time for rest will vary from person to person, but in general, shorter rest breaks every now and then are more helpful than long times spent in bed.
Exercise is important for maintaining healthy and strong muscles, preserving joint mobility, and maintaining flexibility. Exercise can also help people sleep well, reduce pain, maintain a positive attitude, and lose weight. Exercise programs should take into account the person's physical abilities, limitations, and changing needs. Exercise may need to be reduced when the disease is active.
Some people find using a splint for a short time around a painful joint reduces pain and swelling by supporting the joint and letting it rest. Splints may be used on the wrists or ankle. Self-help devices may also help carry out daily activities. These include zipper pullers, long-handled shoe horns and devices that help move in and out of bed or bathroom.
With the exception of several specific types of oils, there is no scientific evidence that any specific food or nutrient helps or harms people with rheumatoid arthritis. However, an overall nutritious diet with enough-but not an excess of-calories, protein, and calcium is important. Some people may need to be careful about drinking alcoholic beverages because of the medications they take for rheumatoid arthritis. Those taking methotrexate may need to avoid alcohol altogether because one of the most serious long-term side effects of methotrexate is liver damage.
Some people notice that their arthritis gets worse when there is a sudden change in the weather. However, there is no evidence that a specific climate can prevent or reduce the effects of rheumatoid arthritis. Moving to a new place with a different climate usually does not make a long-term difference in a person’s rheumatoid arthritis.
Reference: The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
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