Nearly 1 in 4 adults in the United States are impacted by, according to the Arthritis Foundation. The most common type is osteoarthritis, which tends to develop later in life from “wear and tear” on the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis, though less common, can develop at any age. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder where your immune system attacks healthy cells in the body.
CBSN anchor Lana Zak spoke with Dr. John M. Davis III, a rheumatologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for World Arthritis Day to learn more about how to manage the disorder with wellness in mind.
“Exercise is really crucial for people to manage their health with rheumatoid arthritis,” Davis said. “Exercise helps people combat fatigue and decreases pain.”
Davis added that exercise could ultimately improve muscle mass and said people with greater lean body mass could have less inflammation.
Stress management is another way to manage rheumatoid arthritis from a mental health perspective that Davis recommended.
“It’s important to keep stress low to keep the inflammation at bay,” Davis said. “… Part of it is really focusing on mindfulness and staying in the present. And not going down the pathway of thinking about a lot of bad thoughts about the future, about the past, or about what might happen with the pandemic.”
As for a diet, Davis recommended people with rheumatoid arthritis follow one similar to the Mediterranean diet, also called the anti-inflammatory diet — a diet with low levels of sugar, animal fats and saturated fats, with minimal processed foods.