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Rheumatoid Arthritis - Living With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Avoid smoking

People with rheumatoid arthritis have an increased risk of plaque in the arteries (atherosclerosis). Smoking increases this risk even more. Smoking may also lower your response to treatment.3 So, if you're a smoker, quit. For more information on how to quit, see the topic Quitting Smoking.

Eat a balanced diet

Try to eat a healthy, balanced diet. It should be low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and salt and high in fiber and complex carbohydrate (whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables). According to some studies, fish oil may improve your symptoms.4

  • Be sure to get enough calcium and vitamin D to protect your bones against osteoporosis. For more information, see the topic Osteoporosis.
  • Lose weight, if you are overweight. For more information, see the topic Weight Management.
  • People who have rheumatoid arthritis also have an increased risk of heart disease. But healthy lifestyle changes, such as exercise and a healthy diet, may reduce your risk.

For more information, see:

Take care of your teeth and gums

People who have rheumatoid arthritis tend to get gum disease. Some experts think that infection that enters the body through the mouth may make rheumatoid arthritis worse, although this has not been proved. You can help prevent gum disease through good basic dental care.

actionset.gif Dental Care: Brushing and Flossing Your Teeth

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 29, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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