Several environmental factors and lifestyle changes can improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Certain places might offer benefits for people with RA, including New York, Lagos, Sydney, and more.

Rheumatoid arthritis can cause a wide range of serious symptoms, including weight loss, weakness, and fatigue, along with pain, stiffness, swelling, and tenderness in the joints.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), rheumatoid arthritis is estimated to affect around 18 million people worldwide.

If left untreated, rheumatoid arthritis can cause severe damage to the joints and may lead to bone damage and deformity, as well as permanent disability.

Certain places around the globe might offer benefits specifically for those with RA and could even help improve your quality of life.

Here are 9 of the best places to live with RA.

From pedestrians to bodegas, taxis, and traffic, New York has a lot of everything. Rheumatologists are no exception. According to our FindCare tool, there are over 200 rheumatologists practicing in New York City.

When you’re coping with RA, having access to a trusted rheumatologist is invaluable.

A 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.

Countries in the WHO’s African region have the lowest average rate of tobacco use, which has steadily continued to decline since 2010.

Nigeria, in particular, has implemented national policies to help reduce tobacco use, including bans on tobacco advertising and smoke-free indoor workplaces and public spaces.

Not only is smoking a known cause of RA, but it can also exacerbate the condition.

In some people, 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 is often considered one of the most walkable cities in Australia.

While walking benefits everyone, it’s especially helpful if you have RA.

Walking helps you maintain a moderate weight, which eases stress on your joints. It also strengthens the muscles around your joints, which can reduce joint pain and inflammation.

Try working your way up to around 150 minutes per week, which is 30 minutes per day for 5 days per week. Feel free to divide it up into shorter, 10-minute walks if it feels more manageable or if fatigue is an issue.

Be sure to also check in with a doctor before starting a new exercise routine for personalized guidance and advice.

The Mediterranean diet was inspired by the traditional eating patterns of several countries in the Mediterranean basin, including Greece.

While the Greeks might not have been considering RA when they first started cooking, the foods that they eat might be beneficial to people with RA.

Starring whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, olive oil, and garlic, Mediterranean meals are filled with omega-3 fatty acids.

Studies show that omega-3 fatty acids may help ease certain symptoms of RA, including swollen and tender joints.

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

Heat can help ease stiffness in the joints. In fact, research shows that soaking in hot springs offers therapeutic benefits for those with RA.

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

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

Sunshine provides a host of benefits for people with RA.

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 may be linked to decreased bone density.

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 people with arthritis.

With its low crime rates, high living standards, and scenic views, Salt Lake City is one of the most relaxing spots in the United States.

For people with RA, it’s important to reduce stress. Not only can it trigger flare-ups of the condition, but it can also increase muscle tension, which can amplify pain.

Thus, keeping your environment as stress-free as possible can reduce your arthritis pain.

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

France is well-known for its wide assortment of cheeses, ranging from Munster to Brie and beyond.

So what does this have to do with your RA? Vitamin K2 — a vitamin common in soft cheese — may help decrease inflammation and improve disease activity.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, vitamin K may also help strengthen your bones and protect against bone loss.

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 a doctor, you’ll find the treatment that works best for you, regardless of where you live.