What things trigger symptoms and worsen rheumatoid arthritis?
We often discuss treatment options for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and we keep an eye on what’s in the pipeline. We are focused on what can help manage RA symptoms and disease progression, as you would expect. But it is equally important to be cognizant of what can make rheumatoid arthritis worse. You need to know what you shouldn’t be doing, just as much as what you should be doing.
I have compiled a list of a dozen things that can make you feel worse, cause your symptoms to flare, or cause your disease to progress. While you may be aware of about half of these, the rest are lesser known in terms of being linked to RA.
Known Contributing Factors That Can Make Rheumatoid Arthritis Worse
1. Nonadherence to Treatment
After you are diagnosed with RA, your doctor will recommend a course of treatment. The treatment regimen is prescribed to help manage RA symptoms and disease activity. If you fail to adhere to the treatment regimen — by not filling prescriptions, not taking medication as directed, not exercising, skipping appointments — there is an increased risk of worsening symptoms and disease activity. That’s the case even when the nonadherence is unintentional (for example, due to forgetfulness). While your reasons for nonadherence may be entirely valid, it is your responsibility to discuss those reasons with your doctor before you make changes to the prescribed treatment regimen on your own. A medication change may be indicated, or perhaps the addition of an adjunct treatment would be to your benefit. Be sure to have that conversation with your doctor and decide on your next move together.
2. Sedentary Lifestyle
Regular physical activity is necessary for everyone, including people with RA. There are numerous health benefits associated with regular physical activity. Improved muscle strength, as well as better bone and joint health, is essential for people with RA. Rest is also needed, to restore the body from episodes of intense pain and fatigue, which are characteristic of RA. Striking a balance between rest and activity is optimal. Rest can’t become a way of life. A sedentary lifestyle actually does the opposite of what you want, leading to increased pain, fatigue, and weakness.
|Read on: Top Ways You Might Worsen Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms | Everyday Health|