Women's Health

Women with Rheumatoid Arthritis at Higher Risk of Lung Disorders

Living simply yet healthfully is important

“There is a direct correlation between inflammation in the joints and damage. Decreasing inflammation prevents joint deformities, disability, and lowers cardiovascular risk, in addition to preventing pain and joint stiffness. The current goal in RA management is to induce a remission, called treat to target. Unfortunately, most of the time maintaining a long-term remission requires some medication. Uncontrolled disease activity is also associated with disease in other organs, such rheumatoid lung disease and vasculitis (inflammation in blood vessels). However, there are lifestyle changes that can lower inflammation in RA such as discontinuing cigarette smoking, increasing exercise, getting adequate sleep, stress management, and an anti-inflammatory diet” stated Nancy Carteron, rheumatologist at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.

Just as there are foods that seem to alleviate inflammation, there are also different types of foods that can prompt it. For instance, chicken, beef or other meats that are fried or grilled at a high temperature can increase AGEs in the blood. Such proteins can worsen symptoms of autoimmune diseases such as RA. Moreover, omega-6 fatty acids found in several fried foods, sunflower, soybean oils, and corn tend to increase the risk of obesity and joint inflammation. “It’s bad enough to have rheumatoid arthritis. How about rheumatoid arthritis and kidney failure or rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes? I mean it’s bad enough you have to deal with it so you might as well be absolutely healthy even if it didn’t help for that particular disease. So, eat healthy across the board for everybody” stated Dr. Michael Greger, physician and creator of NutritionFacts.org.

If you are living with RA, the best way that you can receive the nutrients you need and keep your inflammation down is by eating healthy foods and/or taking supplements. Make simpler, yet healthier choices by incorporating rich sources of omega acids and antioxidants into your diet. For instance, instead of going for the red meat, consider substituting it for fish. Fish is an excellent source of protein and high in omega-3 fatty acids. Moreover, keep fresh fruits and vegetables handy as a way to avoid grabbing for the processed snacks. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the best approach to alleviating symptoms associated with chronic conditions is to follow a well-balanced diet. 2/3 of your diet should include fruits, vegetables and whole grains, while the remaining 1/3 should include sources of protein and low-fat dairy products. Eating healthy cannot be stressed enough when it comes to treating chronic conditions, such as RA, that cause swelling and inflammation. Changing your diet can improve your health and quality of life.