Rheumatoid Arthritis and BMI

Rheumatoid Arthritis and BMI

Rheumatiz Gulch, Oregon: Hearing the name makes your bones ache, doesn’t it? And if you’re one of the 1.5 million folks who have rheumatiz ... er … rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you want to get rid of any struggles with pain and restricted mobility. Well, it turns out you can avoid your own walk into Rheumatiz Gulch by controlling modifiable risk factors that trigger pain, such as overweight and lack of physical activity. Unfortunately, around 66% of people with diagnosed arthritis are overweight -- making every step more painful than it needs to be. And 44% of folks with arthritis say they get no leisure-time physical activity!

According to a study, a Body Mass Index that’s below 18.5 or above 25 can make pain more likely and physical activity more difficult and infrequent. In this study the folks who were underweight tended to be smokers and have a lot of inflammation and those who were overweight were older, female and had poor functioning.

However, for folks with RA, movement makes your ability to achieve remission more likely! That’s why it is essential to find ways to stay active. So if you’re diagnosed with RA, work with a nutritionist and physical therapist to develop a diet and activity plan that helps you achieve your optimal healthy weight. (It is all in our book, YOU On A Diet, Revised.) You’ll reduce body-wide inflammation, your joints will thank you and you’ll have less pain. It’s not easy, but it is that simple.

Medically reviewed in April 2020.

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