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When you have rheumatoid arthritis, you’ll want to celebrate your good days. Try not to look over your shoulder in anticipation of an RA flare. Instead, go forward with the things that help you stay healthy.

Keep Up With Regular Checkups

Even when you’re on the upswing, it’s important to have regular visits with your doctor and continue with your RA medications. After all, they're working! The Arthritis Foundation recommends you see your doctor at least once a year to monitor your RA.

Be sure to keep your lab appointments, too. You need regular blood tests to see how you’re doing and spot possible side effects of treatment.

Eat Right for RA

Folic acid, or folate, is a B vitamin that lessens the side effects of methotrexate. It’s available in foods like leafy vegetables, beans, and whole grains. You can also take it as a supplement.

Also, make sure you get enough calcium and vitamin D, especially if you take steroids (such as prednisone), which can cause bone loss.

Remember to load up on omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish like salmon and tuna. These good fats can help your body fight inflammation. Choose fish twice a week, or take a fish oil supplement.

Protect Yourself From Flu and Other Infections

The drugs used to treat RA can weaken your body’s defenses and make you more likely to get infections. Get a flu shot every year. Check with your doctor to find out when you should get vaccines for these other infections:

Stay Active and Fit

With your doctor’s OK, get 20 to 30 minutes of low-impact aerobic exercise on as many days of the week as you can. Walking, water aerobics, swimming, and bicycling are good joint-friendly exercises. Avoid anything that puts a lot of stress on your joints, such as running.

A couple of days a week, do some strength training to strengthen the muscles that support your joints.

Also a couple of days a week, do stretching to improve flexibility. Take it easy, though. Don’t overdo it.

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RA Checklist Challenge

Want to take better care of yourself? See how many things you can check off the list in the next 30 days!

I ordered salmon instead of a burger when I went out to eat today.

I took a walk 5 days this week.

I didn't let my RA stop me from having fun today.

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You Are Not Alone

  • 1.3 million Americans are living with RA.
  • 75% of people with RA are women.
  • 3 in 5 people with RA try to stay active.
  • 91% of people with RA are able to keep working.
  • 3 in 5 patients are satisfied with their doctors.
  • 80% say they hope for new, innovative treatments.
  • 75% want to feel better in 3 months of treatment.
  • 80% want treatment to resume full social lives.
  • 2 out of 3 say friends don't understand their RA.
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