Work With Your Doctor to Prevent RA Complications

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Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disease, and so although we think about joint pain and joint inflammation as one of the hallmarks of the disease, in addition, patients with rheumatoid arthritis can end up having a slightly increased risk for having thin bones, or osteopenia, as well as a slightly increased risk for having heart attack and strokes.

It's important to talk with your physician in order to help prevent other complications of rheumatoid arthritis, so that we can help make sure that we're treating not just the patient's joints but the person as a whole. This includes making sure that you're up to date on your appropriate vaccines to help prevent infections, what things you need to keep your bone health up, and to make sure that you're monitoring for other things that may be risk factors for heart attacks and for strokes.

It's also really important to make sure that you're staying active so that you can keep your muscle strength and make sure that you have an overall healthy body. In general, eating a heart-healthy diet is really important for our patients. Talk with your doctor to see if you might need calcium or vitamin supplements.

Some patients might need other medications to help control some of their symptoms, and that's really important to discuss with your doctor so you can make sure that you have a customized treatment plan just for you. By working with your physician and helping prevent complications, you can go on to lead a normal healthy life despite your rheumatoid arthritis.