Segment 4 - Lifestyle Changes: Do They Matter?

Dr Fendrick asked fellow panelists how they think alternative and non-pharmalogical therapies, including lifestyle changes, could help slow RA disease progression once it's diagnosed.

Dr Fendrick asked fellow panelists how they think alternative and non-pharmalogical therapies, including lifestyle changes, could help slow RA disease progression once it’s diagnosed.

Dr O’Dell suggested that lifestyle changes certainly have a role, but they are not a replacement for disease-modifying therapies. Once diagnosed, there are changes patients can make to improve the severity of the disease, including smoking cessation, oral hygiene, and improving their diet. He stressed that although helpful, patients should not believe lifestyle changes will cure RA alone.

Dr Ruderman said that like diabetics or those with cardiovascular diseases, lifestyle changes matter because poor habits and behaviors can contribute to excessive morbidity and mortality in RA patients.

Dr O’Dell and Dr Ruderman both agreed that every patient, once diagnosed with RA, should immediately be given disease-modifying agents. Importantly, Dr Ruderman said there are only very rare exceptions to this standard in RA care.