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Tips for Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis

by Lisa Anderson

Grandparent and daughterLearning to live from day to day with Rheumatoid Arthritis can be an overwhelming task at times. Although some days are much more difficult to cope with than others, I have learned some things that do help in the over-all picture. Foremost would be to enjoy a well balanced diet. There is no such thing as a diet that cures arthritis. However, a healthy diet of foods rich in Omega 3’s, cold water fish such as mackerel, salmon and herring can be beneficial. Also add eggs, olive oil and flax seed to your routine regime, as well as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Maintain a healthy weight to reduce stress on already painful arthritic joints. This will also help to boost your energy level and reduce fatigue. Eat regularly to avoid binge eating. Limit your high-fat and cholesterol intake and watch your portion sizes.

Exercise regularly to help maintain that healthy weight and to help keep joints from stiffening. This does not mean join a kick-boxing class! Try yoga, swimming, stretching, walking and even tai chi. This can also help with the emotional stress caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Depression can take its toll on you and cause a feeling of worthlessness and poor self-esteem.

Visit your local Humane Society and adopt a grown dog for companionship. I know for me, puppy training days are long gone! Besides this is supposed to be helpful, not add more stress to your life! Put a leash on your new friend and go out and enjoy a leisurely walk along the beach.

A strong support system is vital to your well-being! Make sure your family and friends know and understand that some days you just don’t have the strength. There will be times that are better than others and if you can’t make it today it is not a reflection on your love for them.

For more information and support, visit The Arthritis Foundation at arthritis.org.

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