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Working the Rheum: Tips for Living Better with RA


This information has been reviewed and approved by Stuart Kassan, MD (June 2024).

Summary: Working the Rheum: Tips for Living Better with RA

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a disease that affects the joints and that can involve many other body parts. You can improve your symptoms by eating right, staying active, getting rest and changing your lifestyle for the better. Try these tips for managing RA



  1. Drink 48 to 64 ounces of water a day.
  2. Eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, olive oil, yogurt, cheese and salmon.
  3. Eliminate added sugars and processed and fast foods.



  1. Do yoga or tai chi to manage stress and relax.
  2. Strengthen muscles around joints with weight training.
  3. Try hand and finger exercises to increase flexibility and strength.
  4. Wear sunscreen (some medications increase sensitivity to UV rays).
  5. Use massage, deep breathing and other techniques to relax.
  6. Open doors and move items with larger joints to protect small joints.
  7. Quit smoking.



  1. Maintain consistent sleep with good sleep habits.
  2. Get adequate exposure to bright light during the day.
  3. Talk to a friend or counselor when anxious or depressed.
  4. Manage stress with exercise, music and laughter.
  5. Join a support group or club.


Rheumatoid Arthritis is Treatable

Watch for these symptoms, and don’t wait to see the doctor:

  • Joint Pains
  • Joint Swelling
  • Joint Stiffness
  • Fatigue
  • Skin Nodules (Bumps under the Skin)
  • Morning Stiffness of the Joints
  • Stiffness after Inactivity


Other Resources

What is rheumatoid arthritis?
What causes rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms
Diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis
How is RA treated?
Tips to manage RA
Help for patients with RA and heart disease.
Arthritis Foundation aquatic therapy classes


You may use this infographic or our Working the Rheum: Tips for Living Better with RA (pdf) with permission by completing our content usage request form.