Arthritis challenges millions of Americans to adapt their lifestyles to live with this disease, and when you get that initial diagnosis, there are things you may want to stop doing to feel better.
The way you treat arthritis and the outcomes you can expect differ significantly based on the type that you have. Osteoarthritis is the most common type, and it typically appears in older people as joints age, but also is seen in people who are obese or who have had joint injuries. Other types of arthritis, like rheumatoid and psoriatic, are connected to your immune system and may be in numerous joints.
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Here are five activities you should stop doing when you get an arthritis diagnosis:
1. Smoking: A Swedish study found that more than a third of rheumatoid arthritis cases can "be attributed at least in part to smoking," and that number is higher if you have a genetic risk of RA, according to Everyday Health. Smoking also impacts methotrexate, a commonly prescribed RA drug, making it less effective.
2. Overeating: If you are overweight, your joints suffer from increased pressure. Particularly for those with osteoarthritis, losing weight can significantly impact the disease, WebMD said. "For every pound people lose, they lose 3 pounds of stress across their knee and 6 pounds of stress on their hip, on average,” orthopedic surgeon Dr. Geoffrey Westrich told the website.
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3. Eating poorly: Eating healthy, in addition to helping with weight loss efforts, can decrease some foods that appear to be tied to increased inflammation, the Arthritis Foundation said. Some people find that eating beef, chicken, and other meats cooked at high temperatures increases inflammation; another problem is omega-6 fatty acids, found in things like margarine, sunflower oil, safflower oil, meats, and other food items.
4. Getting stressed. Although it's easier said than done, learning to manage your stress levels can help control RA flares, according to Everyday Health. Yoga, meditation, and exercise may help manage everyday stress.
5. Exercise that is hard on your joints: While an arthritis diagnosis doesn't automatically mean you can't run anymore, you should at least consult with your doctor about exercise that's good for your joints. Running can aggravate knee, hip, and ankle arthritis, for instance, because of the pounding when your foot hits the ground.
Every person with arthritis is affected in different ways, particularly rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis. Consult with your medical experts about the best way to treat your condition.
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