Kick the Habit: Smoking Increases Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk

a man smoking a cigaretteRheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that affects the body’s joints, resulting in debilitating pain. Although there is already a lot of research about the health problem, experts still don’t know exactly what causes it. There are risk factors, though, and that includes smoking.

The Link Between RA and Smoking

Studies show that people who smoke are more susceptible to developing RA. This is true even for light and intermittent smokers — even those who have quit smoking years before.

While the exact connection isn’t established yet, some researchers in Boise believe that this habit causes malfunctions in the immune system of people who are already genetically vulnerable to the disease.

Additionally, smoking renders medications for RA less effective. If a patient needs surgery, there are a lot of more risks when they’re a smoker. It may interfere with anesthesia and drug metabolism, along with heart rate and blood pressure.

All these present the need to quit smoking. But apparently, it’s not as easy as it seems.

The Struggle of Quitting

Most RA patients turn to smoking to distract or relieve them from some of the disease symptoms, that’s why quitting becomes a struggle. The best way to move forward is to be transparent about it with your doctor.

Rheumatoid arthritis health experts, such as RedRiver Health and Wellness Center in Boise, provide tailored care to the needs of patients, so they’ll consider smoking in your treatment plan. It’s also good to find other ways to get your mind off smoking. Exercise is one.

But, before you follow a workout routine, talk to your doctor to know which physical activities are appropriate for your health condition. It’s also important to get support from your family and friends.

Quitting is tough, so you’ll need all the help you can get. Tell them your plan of quitting, so they would also avoid giving you some packs of cigarettes and, at the same time, caution you when you crave a cigarette.

RA is a debilitating disease — and the risk for it climbs up the longer you delay quitting smoking. Get help from experts and loved ones in kicking this habit.