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10 Things You Can Do for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Keep Up With All Doctor Appointments

Unfortunately, having rheumatoid arthritis doesn't make you immune to other health problems. In fact, the disease and medications you take for it may raise your risk of some conditions.

For example, if RA causes dry mouth or makes it difficult to brush and floss your teeth, frequent dental visits may help prevent gum problems and tooth decay. If you are taking medications such as corticosteroids or hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), which can affect your eyes, it's important to have eye exams, too.

Eat to Reduce Inflammation

While there is no "rheumatoid arthritis diet," eating healthfully can have all-around health benefits. Specific foods and nutrients can also help inflammation or counteract some effects of medications. For example, omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish may reduce inflammation. Saturated fats, on the other hand, can increase your risk of diseases associated with inflammation such as heart disease.

Calcium-rich foods are important for countering the bone loss that can happen if you take  corticosteroids. Good sources of calcium include dairy products, green, leafy vegetables, and fortified breakfast cereals and juices.

Folic acid can help reduce the side effects of the drug methotrexate. Food sources include fortified breakfast cereals, orange juice, and green, leafy vegetables. To ensure you are getting enough of both nutrients, ask your doctor about supplements.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David Zelman, MD on June 25, 2013

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