Prevention

There is no known way to prevent arthritis because the exact causes are still unknown. However, there are ways to reduce the chance of severe joint damage after an RA diagnosis.

Early Detection and Treatment

If you have any symptoms of RA, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Starting medication before any joint damage occurs can avoid or lessen permanent damage down the road.

Exercise

Gentle stretching and strength exercises can reduce RA pain. They also build bone tissue, which can ward off osteoporosis (a serious RA complication). However, exercising during a flare-up or doing high-impact exercise like jogging can cause pain or injury. A rheumatologist or physical therapist can help you create an exercise program that is both safe and effective.

Quit Smoking

Smoking significantly increases your risk for developing RA, and it is the one risk factor for the disease that is in your control. If you’re a smoker, quit today; quitting smoking will greatly reduce your change of getting RA later in life.