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Wellness for a Life Well-lived, Even With Rheumatic Disease

Wellness for a Life Well-lived, Even With Rheumatic Disease

Healio July 2018
It is no secret that, in terms of general health, it’s better to eat a salad than a burger and fries. It’s no secret that going for a walk is better than sitting on the couch watching television. It’s no secret that practicing yoga or meditation can provide some peace in a busy, cluttered life. And it’s no secret that improving these wellness-related lifestyle habits can pay dividends for patients with rheumatic or autoimmune diseases.

Despite these well-known facts, both rheumatologists and patients consistently report poor dietary habits, alarming rates of tobacco and alcohol use, and insufficient exercise among individuals with these conditions. Many experts believe it’s past time to discuss why.
One such expert is Leonard H. Calabrese, DO, vice chair of rheumatic and immunologic disease at Cleveland Clinic and chief medical editor of Healio Rheumatology. “The time for wellness has come,” he said. 
“We are no longer satisfied with merely treating disease activity and only measuring our patients progress with standard disease activity scores. For too long, wellness has been considered an alternative to medication. That needs to change.”
In a recent study published in Musculoskeletal Care, Garner and colleagues tested the feasibility of a personalized diet and exercise regimen, along with individualized counseling, in 30 patients with inflammatory arthritis who were assigned standard of care or the intervention. 

Results showed nonsignificant improvements in physical activity, LDL cholesterol level and intake of vitamin C, iron, fiber, vitamin A and folate among patients in the intervention arm.

“I have to look at the patient individually and realize what the challenges are,” Tesser said. “If the person has significant body pain and is not obese, but cannot move because of the pain, I encourage them to mobilize, even if it’s simply walking inside the house for a week, then around the block for a week. If they have trouble doing that, we can find another way to suit their needs.”

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