Rheumatoid Arthritis Weight Loss

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Several readers have asked me Rheumatoid Arthritis weight loss questions. Is this confusing? Weight loss is actually a symptom of Rheumatoid Arthritis. There are several reasons. There is the typical appetite loss of RA, the anemia, and the fever that accompany RA. Also, methotrexate and other RA medicines can interfere with food absorption.


Rheumatoid Arthritis, weight loss, and confusion

RA patients with severe disease have historically been known to suffer malnutrition. “The increased catabolism raises resting energy expenditure, which leads to weight loss and reduced lean body mass, especially if energy and protein requirements are not met.  This phenomenon is recognized as ‘rheumatoid cachexia’,” Cambridge Journal article. Some studies showed a majority of RA’ers were malnourished.

However, weight gain can still be problem for many living with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Several facts of life with RA can lead to weight gain for many RA’ers. RA patients usually get less exercise, but what else is going on?

Things that necessitate Rheumatoid Arthritis weight loss

  • Prednisone tends to make you gain weight.
  • Muscle mass, which burns more calories, is lost with lowered activity level due to pain.
  • It’s difficult to prepare healthy food when you are disabled. RA’ers may rely on convenience foods.
  • RA’ers usually give up smoking and alcohol, which means weight gain for some.

RA Weight Loss strategies: What can be done?herb tea3

  • If you are well enough at times to do it, exercise. More on RA exercise.
  • Eat frequent small meals to keep your metabolism up. More RA diet tips.
  • Eat plenty of protein to sustain muscle tissue.
  • Tell your doctor you want to include weight considerations in medicine decisions.
  • Get family members to help you get the healthiest options. For example: To bring you a roasted chicken instead of fried chicken when bringing a meal or gourmet tea instead of a latte.
  • Avoid empty calories. Spend them on things that could improve your health. More RA food strategies.
  • Keep close tabs on thyroid levels. Being a middle aged woman & an RA patient are both risk factors for low thyroid, which causes weight gain.

Your turn. Tell us your best tip to maintain a healthy weight with RA!

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Kelly Young. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 4th, 2010 at 7:09 am and is filed under Living with RA / Managing RA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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