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  • Writer's pictureJessica Frizzell, PA-C

The Top 10 Triggers that Cause RA Flares

Updated: Aug 15, 2022

Living with rheumatoid arthritis is difficult, and managing the flare-ups can be even more difficult.

Here at Paducah Rheumatology, we strive to minimize the frequency and intensity of rheumatoid arthritis flare-ups, also referred to as RA flares.

To know how to prevent an RA flare, you must know what triggers one.

When you know what causes flare-ups, then you can know what to do or not to do in order to manage your symptoms.

Below is a list of the top ten triggers that most commonly bring on an RA flare.

  1. Lack of Movement - Physical activity is an important component of managing your RA symptoms. A sedentary lifestyle only leads to more pain, stiffness, tenderness, swelling, and more.

  2. Overexertion - While movement is 100% necessary to maintain joint health, it is important to be aware of your limits and respect those. (Yes, too much activity is detrimental and too little is just as hurtful. It can be tricky to find that happy medium.)

  3. Poor Sleep - RA is hard on your body. You need quality rest to give your body the downtime to recoup, recover, and rebuild. (Once again, here comes that tricky balancing act between making sure you give your body the relaxation it needs, while also ensuring you stay active.)

  4. Stress, Anxiety, and Depression - When your mental health declines, so will your entire physical wellbeing. Not to mention, a struggle with mental health typically leads to a decline in exercise and sleep too. (Have you noticed a pattern yet? A lot of triggers are interconnected, and just one can have a ripple effect.)

  5. Diet Choices - Pro-inflammatory foods are not your friend. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet, often referred to as the Mediterranean diet, has been a life-saver for many of our patients. Don’t forget to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water as well.

  6. Recent Illness - A bout of sickness means your immune system has worked over time, and in turn, that extra stress can bring on additional inflammation that can be hard to get rid of.

  7. Oral Health - The inflammatory process can interrupt your oral health. Perhaps keeping your teeth clean won’t necessarily save you from experiencing an RA flare, but studies show there is a connection between proinflammatory proteins that cause gum disease and inflammation contributing to RA symptoms.

  8. Smoking - Studies also show that smoking elevates disease activity. In addition, smoking increases your risk of bone, lung, and other medical complications.

  9. Weather Changes - Many of the above listed causes of RA flares have to do with personal lifestyle choices, yet this one is definitely out of your control. While you can’t determine the weather, you can live your life in a way to give your body the best chance at feeling well through different weather patterns.

  10. Treatment Plans - NOT following your treatment plan can bring on a flare-up. Consistent efforts to stick to your treatment plan is your best bet at managing your RA symptoms.

We understand that living with an autoimmune disease is not an easy road, but our healthcare team is committed to making that burden as light as possible.

Unfortunately, we hate to admit that there is no magical cure to forever avoid RA flares.

On the other hand, we can guarantee to create a personalized treatment plan designed to meet your individual needs and address your specific symptoms.

We want to support you through those flare-ups and help you discover solutions to improve your quality of life.

Send in your physician’s referral, then give us a call at 270-408-6100 to set up a new patient appointment.

Together … we can better your health and wellbeing.

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