The rheumatoid arthritis is a disease autoimmune, inflammatory and chronic, occurring more frequently in middle aged women who mainly and symmetrically affects the joints, ie affects both the same joint on both sides of the body (for example both wrists) and can also affect any other organ, for this reason it is classified as a systemic disease at the same time.
What is Rheumatoid arthritis?
To explain the pathophysiological mechanism of this disease have been taken into account several studies agree that rheumatoid arthritis , is the result of the damage they cause certain cells of the immune system of people with this disease, the membrane lining the joints ( synovial membrane) causing inflammation, pain, immobility and if these symptoms persist over time, it progresses to erosion and deformation of the bone that make up the affected joint, which is why the person may have certain functional limitations.
The main cause of this disease is still unknown, but there are environmental factors that can accelerate or cause its appearance, such as infections by bacteria or viruses, exposure to toxic substances and excess weight.
Excess weight and rheumatoid arthritis
About two thirds of people with rheumatoid arthritis are overweight and even obese in some cases, like much of the world's population. Although it is true that in any person being overweight is the cause of the development of many diseases and conditions of different organs and systems, such as cardiovascular diseases, where we find high blood pressure, endocrine disorders, such as Type 2 Diabetes, among others.
The excess of adipose or fat tissue plays a fundamental role in the development of rheumatoid arthritis and in the appearance of associated complications.
The cells that make up the fatty tissue of the body are called adipocytes, these cells are capable of producing pro-inflammatory messenger molecules called cytokines, these molecules are capable of increasing the inflammatory action of the cells of the immune system, therefore it is believed that the greater it is the percentage of body fat of an individual, the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines will be higher and therefore, the joint damage caused by this disease worsens.
Being overweight increases rheumatoid arthritis problems
The excess weight, and increase of inflammation, also increases the pressure receiving joints, since these are responsible for maintaining stability and support the weight of the body.
It is estimated that for every 10 kg of overweight, the additional load received by the joints of the spine, hips, knees, ankles and joints of the feet, is approximately 40 kg. In this way the bone wear caused by the disease will be much faster than in people who suffer from the disease, but who maintain a weight within normal limits.
Another way in which overweight influences the development of the disease is by notably reducing the effectiveness of treatment in these patients, compared to the effectiveness that is evidenced in patients with normal weight.
This is believed to be due to the increased production of pro-inflammatory molecules that do not allow its favorable advancement. On the other hand, very good results have been seen in people with normal weight or who have decided to lose weight for their own benefit.
For this reason, it is considered that diet and the practice of low-impact exercises play a fundamental role in rheumatic diseases. To improve weight, without suffering consequences, the amount of calories ingested should be reduced, as long as the basic daily requirements are met and their use increased.
To achieve this, they should be consumed in less quantity, but not completely eliminated from the diet, fats and carbohydrates; and increase daily physical exercise gradually and according to the recommendations of your doctors.
The following recommendations are useful to avoid the impact of excess body weight on the development of rheumatoid arthritis.
Reduce your fat intake
Fats are one of the most important macronutrients. There are 3 types, saturated fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. It is advisable to reduce your consumption, especially that of saturated fats since these do not provide any benefit to the body and rather worsen the disease.
Reduce the consumption of carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are another of the macronutrients necessary to maintain good nutrition, but like fats, their intake must be reduced or controlled, especially simple carbohydrates.
Instead we must increase the consumption of complex carbohydrates, since they have a complex molecular structure and are very rich in fiber, vitamins and essential minerals. We get these types of nutrients in oats, sweet potatoes, rice and whole wheat pasta, etc.
Cut down on sugar
The calories provided by sugar are called "empty calories" and it is not necessary to consume them since the glucose needed during the day to day is provided by carbohydrates.
Doing physical activity
Performing low-impact physical activity, in addition to helping the patient with weight loss, improves mobility of diseased joints, increases muscle mass, prevents bone wear, and benefits the mood of patients who perform it.
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