The 10 Best Places to Live with RA

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  • Have RA? Run Away

    Have RA? Run Away

    Imagine feeling like you are encased in rubber and your whole body hurts to move. That’s how rheumatologist Dr. David Goddard describes the pain of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). 

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that this autoimmune disease affects 1.5 million Americans. It causes joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation. In many cases, it can lead to bone damage and deformity, as well as permanent disability. 

    Chronic pain and potential deformity is enough to make you want to run away! But where should you run to? Learn about the 10 best places to live with RA.

  • New York City, New York

    New York City, New York

    Pedestrians, bodegas, taxis…New York has a lot of everything. Rheumatologists are no exception. According to the US News & World Report, there are an astounding 513 rheumatologists practicing in the New York City area.

    When you’re coping with RA, a rheumatologist is invaluable. “That’s the individual with the skills to help you manage the disease,” explains Dr. Goddard.

    Your rheumatologist can help you find the right combination of medications to treat your RA, and can coordinate care with other specialists, like physical and occupational therapists.

  • Lagos, Nigeria

    Lagos, Nigeria

    According to a recent Gallup Poll, this West African nation has the lowest rate of smoking in the world.

    Not only is smoking a known cause of RA, a cigarette habit can also exacerbate the condition. In some patients, RA can cause inflammation of the lung sac. Smoking can increase this inflammation. What’s more, joints need as much oxygen as they can get to function properly, but smoking starves them of oxygen.

  • Sydney, Australia

    Sydney, Australia

    Walk Score deemed Australia’s largest city the best place to walk in the continent. 

    While walking benefits everyone, it’s especially helpful if you have RA. Walking helps you maintain a healthy weight, which eases stress on your joints. It also strengthens the muscles around your joints, which can reduce joint pain and inflammation. 

    The American Arthritis Foundation recommends 30 to 60 minutes of walking every day, or at least 210 minutes per week. Sound daunting? It’s easy to walk 30 minutes per day when you can walk to the grocery store, coffee shop, and park.

  • Athens, Greece

    Athens, Greece

    Nutrition nuts love to sing the praises of the Mediterranean diet.

    While the Greeks might not have been considering RA when they first started cooking, the foods that they eat are beneficial to RA sufferers. Starring whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, olive oil, and garlic, Mediterranean meals are filled with omega-3 fatty acids.

    “There’s good evidence that omega-3 oils are helpful in treatment of inflammatory diseases,” says Dr. W. Hayes Wilson, chief of rheumatology at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta. 

    Can You Stop Your Medication Now That You've Moved To A New Location? Find Out Here »

  • Kyoto, Japan

    Kyoto, Japan

    If you’ve ever slipped into a hot tub after a grueling workout, you understand the restorative power of hot water.

    “Heat releases stiffness in the joints,” explains Dr. Goddard. In fact, research shows that soaking in hot springs offers therapeutic benefits for those with arthritis. 

    Located along the “Ring of Fire,” Japan is renowned for its numerous hot springs. Go ahead — jump in! The water’s fine.

  • Yuma, Arizona

    Yuma, Arizona

    With a 90 percent chance of sunshine every day, Yuma is the sunniest spot in America. 

    Sunshine provides a host of benefits for RA sufferers. Vitamin D, which comes from sunlight, may help prevent bone density loss. This is vital for those with RA, since both the condition itself and the drugs used to treat it can decrease bone density.

  • Beijing, China

    Beijing, China

    Where better to learn the ancient art of tai chi than in its birthplace?

    This ancient form of exercise, which involves slow, controlled body movements, may reduce pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis. In fact, the exercise has proven so helpful in improving range of motion, enhancing balance, and reducing stress, that the Arthritis Foundation now offers a certified tai chi program tailored specifically to arthritis patients.

  • Salt Lake City, Utah

    Salt Lake City, Utah

    In 2014, CNN Money ranked Utah’s capital at the top of the list of America’s most relaxing locales. Salt Lake City has low crime rates, high living standards, and a pristine environment. 

    For patients with RA, it’s important to reduce stress. Dr. Wilson says: “stress can be an intensifier of pain.” That is, if you’re feeling anxious, it can increase the amount of pain you feel. Thus, keeping your environment as stress free as possible can reduce your arthritis pain.

  • Paris, France

    Paris, France

    Looking for a delicious way to control your RA? Head to the kingdom of Camembert!

    The French have the title of highest cheese consumer, with Cheese Rank estimating 26.3 kg (or 58 pounds) per capita, per year. 

    So what does this have to do with your RA? Vitamin K2 — a vitamin common in soft cheese — may help alleviate symptoms and prevent future pain. According to the Arthritis Foundation, vitamin K may destroy inflammatory body cells while also strengthening your bones.

  • Lisbon, Portugal

    Lisbon, Portugal

    The secret to a decent night’s sleep? Living in Portugal.

    According to a recent study, which surveyed sleep habits in ten countries, the Portuguese slept the longest each night (8 hours, 24 minutes). Furthermore, they reported fewer sleep problems­—such as interrupted sleep and daytime fatigue—than many of their counterparts.

    Doctors recommend that patients with RA get 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night. This gives your body time for essential rest and recuperation.

  • Don't Go Just Yet!

    Don't Go Just Yet!

    There you have it: 10 great places to escape to in order to mitigate your arthritis pain. But don’t pack your bags just yet! While environmental factors and lifestyle changes can improve symptoms, they should never be used as a replacement for medical treatment.

    If you have RA, it’s important that you talk to a doctor to weigh your treatment options, which could include medication, therapy, and surgery. With the help of your doctor, you’ll find the treatment that works best for you. 

Thank you!

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