Ways to protect your heart if you have rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the disease that affects the joints. It can develop at any age, but the typical onset of the condition occurs after 55 years of age. People with RA tend to be at the highest risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. More than 50 per cent of premature deaths in people with rheumatoid arthritis result from cardiovascular disease, according to a 2011 review of 24 mortality studies published in Nature Reviews Rheumatology. So it is crucial to keep ourselves healthy and fit to prevent heart diseases. Here are some ways by which an RA patient can reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Have a heart-healthy diet
Having a properly balanced diet is of utmost importance to have a healthy heart. Diet which containing high fibrous fruits, vegetables and whole grains are useful as they also help to reduce inflammation due to RA and is also good for the heart.
- Using Fish Oil
Apart from having a balanced diet, with intake of fish oil is an excellent way to manage the fat present in the blood.
- Knowing the family history of heart disease
Familial history of heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity increases the risk of heart ailments in RA. Patients with any such family must consult a physician and take careful steps to avoid such conditions.
- Checking blood pressure and cholesterol
High blood pressure and high cholesterol are important contributing factors of heart diseases in an RA patient. It is, therefore, advisable to have routine check-ups to evaluate the cholesterol and blood pressure status and take measures to correct them if required.
- Maintaining a healthy weight
A healthy weight is necessary for an RA patient. Obesity can increase the risk of heart disease by increasing the probability of high blood pressure and high cholesterol. On the other hand, low weight enhances the risk of RA aggravation and related conditions.
- Making a wise choice for medications
Many medications are available that are used to treat RA like DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs). The medications used to treat RA can have a serious health impact on heart conditions. Hence always consult an expert doctors before starting medications who will decide the course of medications after complete risk-benefit analysis.
Smoking can be dangerous for those who have RA. People who smoke have a higher risk of developing heart disease as smoking activates the immune response of the body and causes increased threat for developing rheumatoid arthritis too.
- To have an idea about the signs and symptoms
It is always advisable to be aware of the signs and symptoms of the heart condition. The common signs of cardiac conditions like shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea or lightheadedness must be monitored closely.
- Regular exercise
The benefits of physical activity and exercise in RA for prevention of heart diseases are well recognized. A daily exercise decreases the risk of heart attacks and also keeps the bone stronger and fit thereby maintaining a good muscular strength.
- Consultation with a right specialist
Consultation with a right specialist is critical to have more insights into the diseased condition.