The 'World Day of Rheumatoid Arthritis' has this year's slogan the phrase "Move to improve", and is that experts advise the practice of physical exercise regularly to prevent damage such as osteoporosis, or progressive deformity and loss of strength of the affected joints.

It is estimated that rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a chronic and rheumatic disease that causes inflammation of the joints, has a prevalence of 0.5% of the population. A large part of those affected, however, are not diagnosed, so it would be necessary to improve the early detection of this condition in order to treat the symptoms as soon as possible and prevent serious injuries.

Dr. Ana Ortiz, spokesperson for the Spanish Society of Rheumatology (SER), and deputy physician of the Rheumatology Service of the Hospital de la Princesa de Madrid, explains that the control of the disease during the first two years conditions the prognosis in the medium and long term, since it has been observed that the early onset of adequate treatment has improved the functional capacity of patients. The biological drugs, adds the specialist, have also contributed to improve the quality of life of patients.

Research is currently being carried out on the prognostic markers of rheumatoid arthritis, which would allow patients in the initial phase of the disease, when the symptoms are difficult to distinguish from those of other conditions, to be identified. the illness. Dr. Ortiz points out that it would also be of great help to have other markers that would serve to know the response of patients to different treatments, to be able to individualize the therapy and avoid delays and adverse side effects, being able to directly use the most effective treatment in each case.

Healthy life habits

In outbreaks of rheumatoid arthritis, when the joints are inflamed, it is necessary to reduce physical activity, although normally the patient will not need to stay in bed unless indicated by the specialist; however, the rest of the time practicing physical exercise should be part of the daily routine of those affected.

You can perform multiple exercises, such as isometrics, in which the muscles are contracted without moving the joint, and which contribute to maintain a good muscle tone, or those that favor the mobilization of the joints to prevent them from atrophy. Also the massages, which relax the muscles, are positive. The most recommended sports for these patients are walking, swimming and cycling.

The specialists also stress the importance of placing the joints well, avoiding keeping the legs and arms flexed during rest because, although this alleviates the discomfort, over time it causes deformities. During night rest, for example, splints can be used, which are devices that serve to keep the extremities stretched, and help to reduce pain and inflammation.

In the appearance of rheumatoid arthritis influence genetic and environmental factors, and among those that can be modified to reduce the risk of suffering from this condition highlights the consumption of snuff. Regarding diet, experts recommend not drinking alcohol (which could interact with medications), and ingesting an adequate amount of calcium to prevent osteoporosis. Currently RA has no cure, but with proper control of the disease you can get the patient to have a normal life.

Source: Spanish Society of Rheumatology (SER)

Safe Exercise Tips : How Do I Exercise With Rheumatoid Arthritis? (November 2019).