Because patients with arthritis are at risk of developing comorbidities, consulting with a dietitian ensures they receive nutritional advice that applies to their overall health. A recent study found that although patients with RA are at risk of developing cardiovascular disease, most were unaware of their increased risk.4
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Ms. Janov says she often consults with arthritis patients who have other chronic conditions or are at risk of developing conditions such as obesity, diabetes or heart disease.
“I also meet with teens as they prepare to head to college and live independently,” Ms. Janov says. “We’ll talk about how they balance school with work and learn to cook, and I’ll offer ideas on how they can make healthy food choices that are easy to make and fit their budget.”
The Right Tools
Ms. Veltkamp says preparing healthy meals can often prove challenging for patients who have arthritis in their hands or joints.
“I think most people prefer healthy foods, but when it’s hard to prep a meal, it can seem easier to just order a meal to go,” she says.
Rather than relying on fast food, Ms. Veltkamp shows patients how they can purchase pre-cut vegetables, instead of having to chop them. A lot of stores have also begun selling meal kits that are easy to put together and place in the oven.
“When people don’t plan their meals ahead of time, they tend to make poor choices and also spend more money on food,” Ms. Veltkamp says. “There are a lot of really good, free, meal-planning websites where people can choose from low-carb or veggie [options] and choose the number of servings they’d like. The site then gives them a weekly menu and shopping list they can follow.”
Linda Childers is a health writer located in the San Francisco Bay Area.
- Wolman PG, Smith JD, Phillian BL, et al. Prevention and treatment of arthritis: The South Carolina Plan for Nutrition and Complementary Care [conference abstract]. J Am Diet Assoc. 2005:105(8 suppl);32.
- Badsha H. Role of diet in influencing rheumatoid arthritis disease activity. Open Rheumatol J. 2018 Feb 8:12;19–28.
- Brooks JM, Titus AJ, Polenick CA, et al. Prevalence rates of arthritis among US older adults with varying degrees of depression: Findings from the 2011 to 2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2018 Dec;33(12):1671–1679.
- Ghosh-Swaby OR, Kuriya B. Awareness and perceived risk of cardiovascular disease among individuals living with rheumatoid arthritis is low: Results of a systematic literature review. Arthritis Res Ther. 2019 Jan 22:21(1);33.