So although science has yet to find a cure for RA and there are no sure-fire ways to prevent the disease, you can make some positive changes that can potentially reduce your chances of getting RA, or delay its onset. If you do get RA or have already been diagnosed, these changes may also decrease the severity of your symptoms.
If you smoke, quit. “Smoking has been shown to be the most important risk factor for developing RA,” Demoruelle says. And if possible, limit your exposure to other environmental toxins. For example, if your job requires you to work with chemical solvents, make sure you have the best, most up-to-date protection available.
“If you’re obese, lose weight.” Calabrese advises. Even if you’re not overweight, eat a healthy, low-sugar diet that includes healthy omega-3 fats and plenty of vegetables and fruits, and adopt a moderate exercise routine.
And if you have a family history of RA, pay careful attention to your body and see a rheumatologist the moment you feel any joint pain or discomfort, advises Demoruelle. Early treatment increases the odds that you’ll slow RA’s progression and have milder symptoms overall.