4 Reasons Scientists Say Exercise is Great for Rheumatoid Arthritis
February 3, 2023
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a prevalent condition that affects middle-aged or older individuals. It impairs the joints and movement, causing significant pain and discomfort.
Rheumatoid Arthritis disrupts daily activities and increases the risk of developing other health issues, such as heart disease. To reduce symptoms and lead a healthy and pain-free life, it is important to receive treatment.
There are several treatments and medications available for managing rheumatoid arthritis, but according to scientists, exercise is the most effective and highly recommended treatment. Keep reading to discover why scientists hold this view.
What is Rheumatoid Arthritis: Causes and Symptoms
Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune condition that primarily affects the joints, such as the hands and feet. This illness leads to swelling in the joints, causing severe pain and discomfort. It is commonly seen in older individuals or those with a family history of the condition. Additionally, it can result in other health issues and disrupt daily life. To live a long and healthy life, it is crucial to receive proper treatment.
Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis is caused by an immune system that attacks healthy cells in the body, leading to swelling in the affected joints. The following are additional factors that can cause or increase the risk of rheumatoid arthritis:
Age - Rheumatoid arthritis is more common in middle-aged individuals, and the likelihood of developing it increases with age.
Gender - Women are more prone to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis compared to men, as their immune systems are believed to be stronger and more reactive.
Weight - Obesity increases the likelihood of developing rheumatoid arthritis as it puts additional pressure on the joints, causing swelling and pain.
Family history - If a family member has rheumatoid arthritis, there is a higher probability of developing it.
Smoking - Studies have shown that smoking increases the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis as it increases inflammation and stress in the body.
The Most Common Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
The following are common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis:
Pain in one or more joints
In some cases, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may also affect areas outside of the joints, such as:
The severity of these symptoms varies from person to person, and prolonged rheumatoid arthritis can lead to joint deformities or misalignment. Additionally, rheumatoid arthritis increases the risk of other health issues, such as heart disease and obesity, which can impact the quality of life.
Why Exercise the Best Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Scientists suggest that exercises such as walking, yoga, stretching, and pilates are some of the most effective ways to treat or alleviate the symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Let's take a look at the reasons why:
Reduces Inflammation - Swelling is a common symptom of Rheumatoid Arthritis and can cause pain, discomfort, and limited movement. Regular exercise can help reduce inflammation, as muscles release anti-inflammatory cytokines during physical activity. By reducing fat tissue, exercise can also reduce inflammation. In addition, exercise dampens down the immune system, which helps reduce swelling.
Prevents Heart Disease Risks - People with Rheumatoid Arthritis are 48% more likely to develop heart disease because of the inflammation it causes. By reducing inflammation and excess fat tissue, exercise helps lower the risk of heart problems and heart disease.
Decreases Fatigue and Depression - Exercise has been proven to reduce fatigue and depression, common symptoms among people with Rheumatoid Arthritis. When exercising, the body releases endorphins and dopamine, which boost mood and decrease drowsiness. By reducing inflammation, exercise also helps decrease fatigue.
Builds Muscle Tissue - People with Rheumatoid Arthritis often lose muscle tissue in their joints, leading to pain and limited movement. Exercise can help increase muscle mass, which improves joint function and protects it, making the joints stronger and healthier.
In conclusion, scientists believe that exercise is a great way to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis and improve one's quality of life.
Things to Remember for Arthritis Patients while Exercising
Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis need to exercise with caution. Here are some guidelines to follow for safe and effective exercise:
Wear Comfortable Clothing and Shoes: It's important to wear clothes and shoes that provide support and comfort during exercise to prevent injury.
Adjust Exercise Intensity: The intensity of exercise should be adjusted based on the severity of symptoms. For example, if in extreme pain, light exercises would be better and if in moderate pain, moderate exercise would be appropriate.
Stop Exercise if it Causes Discomfort or Pain: If the exercise is causing discomfort or pain, it's best to stop or reduce the session to avoid worsening the symptoms.
Consult a Physical Therapist: It's recommended to work with a physical therapist or to seek one's advice to ensure the exercise program is safe and tailored to the individual's needs.
By following these guidelines, people with rheumatoid arthritis can exercise safely and effectively to manage their symptoms.
Therefore, experts strongly advise individuals with arthritis to engage in physical activity or exercise to mitigate their symptoms and enhance their overall well-being. However, it's crucial to tailor your exercise regimen to avoid any potential harm or injury. Exercise is a crucial aspect of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and promoting good health.
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