Exercise lowers the risk of heart and blood vessel disease. This is even true for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This type of disease is called cardiovascular disease (CVD). People with RA have a higher risk of CVD than people who don’t have RA. CVD makes them more likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or heart failure. Physical activity can lower this risk for all people including those with RA.
Exercise is great for your heart, brain, and blood vessels. Studies of exercise found it helps all people. These studies found it can reduce your risk of serious problems.
Disease risk with exercise goes down by:
- 25% for coronary heart disease
- 26% for stroke
- 23% for death from CVD
Physical activity is especially good for people with RA. Studies of people with RA show this to be true. One study found even light activity, such as washing dishes, can help! All this research shows that exercise can lower your:
- body fat
- body mass index (BMI)
- blood pressure
- cholesterol and triglycerides
- insulin resistance
By improving all these factors, exercise can improve your heart health. Sometimes you may need medicine to lower your CVD risk, too. Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program. But remember, even small daily activities can help keep you healthy. So, stay active if you have RA.
Exercise can be the start to having a healthy heart!