That extra weight around your middle isn’t doing you any favors. Not only do those unwanted pounds increase your susceptibility to stroke, heart disease and diabetes, but they can also have a negative impact on the way you feel on a day-to-day basis. Being overweight can make you feel fatigued, sluggish and short of breath even during simple everyday activities like standing up from the couch or walking a flight of stairs.
This is one reason, researchers suggests, that maintaining a healthy weight can be essential to protecting your body against chronic aches and pains like those that come with Rheumatoid Arthritis. According to a recent article published by Reuters Health, losing weight may in fact be one of the best things you can do to prevent or reduce the impact of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
According to the Mayo Clinic, Rheumatoid Arthritis is an inflammatory autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the smaller joints in your hands and feet. The Arthritis Foundation notes that roughly 1.5 million Americans struggle with Rheumatoid Arthritis but that the condition is three times more likely to impact women than men.
Unlike general arthritis, which is the result of wear and tear on the major joints, the Rheumatoid form impacts the lining of your smaller joints, resulting in painful swelling and stiffness of the extremities. If left untreated, this chronic inflammation can result in an erosion of bone density. However, preventative measures and early intervention can significantly improve the outlook for those diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
What About My Weight?
According to a study of 500 adults with early stage Rheumatoid Arthritis, weight was found to be an important factor in one’s vulnerability to and ability to fight the impact of the condition. All study participants were placed on medication. However, those identified as overweight were 33% less likely to demonstrate “low disease activity” after three months as compared to their average-weighted counterparts. Overweight study participants also reported more pain and discomfort at the three and six-month points.
This led researchers to conclude that a healthy weight can help to influence one’s response to medication and therapy. Consequently, your lifestyle decisions both before and after a diagnosis can be major determinants of your ability to manage Rheumatoid Arthritis. Naturally, you should always work to keep a healthy diet and maintain an active lifestyle. With the onset of Rheumatoid Arthritis, this should become a top priority.
In fact, the imperative to keep your weight in check is even more critical because Rheumatoid Arthritis actually denotes a heightened risk of heart attack. In addition to the greater challenge of reducing the condition’s symptoms through traditional therapies, obesity can compound secondary health concerns.
What Should I Do?
If you do receive a diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis and you’re concerned that you might be overweight, consult your physician so that you can begin to develop a plan for improving your lifestyle. With the proper nutritional balance and a fitness routine that conforms to your abilities, you may be able to bring your Rheumatoid Arthritis under control.