What Are The Things That Can Make Your Rheumatoid Arthritis Worse?

What Are The Things That Can Make Your Rheumatoid Arthritis Worse?

Known to cause stiffness, pain, and inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects thousands of people every year. While it’s essential to manage RA with proper treatment and lifestyle choices, there are several factors that can exacerbate the condition. In this blog, we will explore the things that can make your rheumatoid arthritis worse and discuss ways to manage and alleviate its symptoms.

1. Stress and Emotional Well-being

Stress is known to induce inflammation in the body, which can have a detrimental effect on your body. For individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, stress can lead to increased disease activity and symptom severity. It’s essential to find healthy ways to manage stress, such as by practicing relaxation techniques, mindfulness, and yoga.

2. Smoking and Tobacco Use

Rheumatoid arthritis is often seen in people who have the habit of smoking. It can also make the condition worse for those already diagnosed. Smoking worsens inflammation and can reduce the effectiveness of RA treatments. Quitting smoking is crucial for better RA management.

3. Lack of Physical Activity

While excessive strain on the joints should be avoided, too little physical activity can weaken the muscles around the joints and contribute to RA progression. Engaging in gentle exercises like swimming, walking, and yoga can help maintain joint flexibility and muscle strength.

4. Poor Diet and Obesity

An unhealthy diet high in processed foods, saturated fats, and sugars can contribute to inflammation and weight gain. Obesity places extra stress on joints, worsening RA symptoms. A balanced diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods like fruits, vegetables, and fatty fish can help manage RA.

5. Inadequate Sleep

Sleep disturbances are common in individuals with RA due to pain and discomfort. Poor sleep quality can lead to increased inflammation and worsened pain. Developing good sleep hygiene habits and consulting with a healthcare provider for sleep issues can significantly improve RA symptoms.

6. Overexertion

While exercise is essential, overexertion or engaging in high-impact activities can exacerbate joint pain and inflammation. It’s crucial to work with a physical therapist to develop an exercise routine tailored to your needs and limitations.

7. Delayed or Inadequate Treatment

One of the most critical factors affecting RA severity is the delay in diagnosis and treatment. The longer RA remains untreated, the more joint damage can occur. Early intervention, including disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and biologics, can slow disease progression.

8. Ignoring Medication Plans

Skipping or altering prescribed medications can lead to disease flares and increased pain. RA medications should be taken as directed by a healthcare provider to manage symptoms effectively.

9. Environmental Factors

Exposure to certain environmental factors, such as pollution and toxins, can worsen RA symptoms. While it may not be possible to control all environmental factors, taking steps to minimize exposure can be beneficial.

10. Lack of Ayurveda Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Ayurveda, a traditional system of medicine, offers natural and holistic approaches to managing orthopedic diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis. Ayurvedic treatments focus on personalized wellness, diet, herbal remedies, and lifestyle modifications to alleviate RA symptoms.  If you happen to be in Trivandrum, Trissur, or any other location in Kerala, where a significant number of Ayurvedic hospitals are located, and you’re dealing with orthopedic issues, it is advisable to consult with an Ayurvedic doctor and explore Ayurvedic treatments for orthopedic diseases in Trivandrum, Trissur, or any part of Kerala.

11. Infections and Illnesses

Infections can trigger RA flares or worsen existing symptoms. Individuals with RA need to be cautious about avoiding illnesses by maintaining good hygiene practices, getting recommended vaccinations, and promptly treating any infections that do occur.

12. Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during pregnancy, can have varying effects on RA. Some individuals experience relief from symptoms, while others may see their condition worsen. It’s important to work closely with a healthcare provider to manage RA during significant hormonal fluctuations.

13. Joint Injuries

Injuries to the joints, particularly those near active RA sites, can worsen symptoms and potentially accelerate joint damage. Taking precautions to prevent joint injuries is crucial for individuals with RA.

14. Lack of Sun Protection

RA medications like methotrexate can increase sensitivity to sunlight. Prolonged sun exposure without protection can lead to skin issues and potentially worsen RA symptoms. Using sunscreen and protective clothing can help mitigate this risk.

15. Overconsumption of Alcohol

Excessive alcohol consumption can interfere with the effectiveness of RA medications and lead to liver problems. Individuals with RA should consume alcohol in moderation or as advised by their healthcare provider.

16. Travel Stress

Stress associated with travel, particularly for individuals with mobility issues, can exacerbate RA symptoms. Planning well in advance and considering factors like accessibility can make travel less stressful.

17. Self-Management and Monitoring

Individuals who don’t actively engage in managing their condition and tracking their symptoms may find their RA worsening. Keeping a symptom journal and regularly communicating with healthcare providers are essential.


Rheumatoid arthritis is a complex condition that requires a comprehensive approach to management. Avoiding factors that can exacerbate the disease, such as stress, smoking, inactivity, and a poor diet, is essential. Following medical advice, taking prescribed medications, and adopting a holistic approach, including Ayurvedic treatments, can help individuals with RA lead a better quality of life. Consulting with healthcare providers, both conventional and Ayurvedic, is crucial in developing a well-rounded treatment plan to manage RA effectively.

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