Lifestyle choices

Making healthy lifestyle choices can make a difference to your quality of life when you have a rheumatic and musculoskeletal disease (RMD). Healthy lifestyle choices can help reduce the risk of developing some RMDs. If you are unsure about the best lifestyle choices, make sure you speak to your healthcare professional.

Top tips for making healthy lifestyle choices:

  • Don't smoke

For people with RMDs, smoking can affect the immune system and even increase the amount of pain you feel. There is a vast body of evidence on the dangers of smoking and people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are at a higher risk of developing lung cancer and cardiovascular disease.

  • Avoid stress

Stress can alter our behaviour, affect sleep patterns, change our appetite and make us unwilling to communicate with others. Some of the physical symptoms, such as muscle tension, can also make the pain of RMDs worse. You can use relaxation techniques to help manage stress, along with steps, such as improving your diet and getting more sleep.

  • Get adequate sleep

RMDs can affect the way you sleep but it is important to get enough quality sleep to protect your mental and physical wellbeing and quality of life.

  • Reduce alcohol intake

Drinking too much alcohol or drinking alcohol when taking certain medications can be detrimental to your health. It can affect your balance and increase your risk of falling.

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