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rheumatoid arthritis
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gaining weight
arthritis
People With Rheumatoid Arthritis Are Still Not Exercising As Suggested
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People With Rheumatoid Arthritis Are Still Not Exercising As Suggested

In the past, people who have been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) were told to rest, to take it easy and to avoid moving around too much. However, recent studies have shown great improvement in their symptoms and pain levels as well as their reported quality of life when they add in moderate activity. A study by researchers at Northwestern University has shown that many of those people are not complying with the newer guidelines.

Dr. Jungwha Lee, an assistant professor in the preventative medicine department at Northwestern University and the study's lead has said that two in five adults with the condition are living a life that could be described as sedentary at best. Activity, according to Dr. Lee, can help RA sufferers with balance, decreased pain while increasing their muscular strength and their own flexibility.

In the study, which has been published in the Journal Arthritis Care and Research, 176 people, all already diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis were asked a number of questions on a health survey to determine their level of activity as well as their perception of pain and more. The conclusion of that survey showed that over forty percent did not work out at all. Over fifty percent of those patients said that they felt no real motivation to do so. Nearly fifty percent also did not believe that working out would give them any positive benefits at all.

Part of the problem stems from the old thinking that many RA patients subscribe to while other problems come from both the doctor and the patient's attitudes. It is important for the doctor to counsel patients to try to exercise at a moderate intensity for the recommended period. It is also important for the doctor to work with the patient to determine what exercises are best for them and their condition.

Many people with RA who are sedentary also start gaining weight, especially when they are given certain types of medications which can increase that risk. The more weight that they gain, the more likely they are to suffer from the increased pain and stiffness, a vicious cycle which is marked by less movement and more weight gain. There are certain exercises that should be avoided for the RA sufferer, however, there are others that are not only highly suggested but should be made a part of the overall treatment plan. Avoiding all exercise and movement will not help with RA pain- it may make it worse.


Street Talk

My friend Julie has dealt with RA for years. Three weeks ago she was so miserable that she could not even get out of a chair. At her doctor's office, she was given shots in both knees and then the doctor pulled up a chair and said, "listen kiddo, we need to talk about your weight..." She started working out, posting her progress on Facebook and asking all of her friends to keep on her. If we don't see a post, we ask "hey, what did you do to workout today?" It keeps her accountable, it keeps her motivated and it keeps her moving. Good for you for watching your weight and for exercising! Now, go get those endorphins!

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Exercising makes a lot of sense. Exercise produces endorphins, a feel-good hormone. I have been diagnosed with both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The RA is mild and mainly in my hands. I am less stiff when I exercise, and I also watch my weight. Additional weight is hard on the bones and joints.

Reply
  about 9 years ago
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