Results of a new study suggest that adults with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) can avoid or reverse some of the symptoms that accompany the disease. These include, losing muscle mass and gaining fat mass by incorporating physical exercise where possible. It has been known that RA causes an increase in metabolic rate (more calories are burned for bodily functions during the resting state). However, it is not known yet if this elevated resting metabolic rate in people with active RA increases calorie requirements.
In this study, researchers analysed the daily total energy expenditure (TEE) of adults with RA and the total daily energy expenditure of physical activity. They found that the TEE is reduced in people with RA, due to a low energy expenditure of physical activity, which increases their risk for muscle loss and fat mass gain. Therefore it is suggested that adults with RA should moderately reduce their caloric intake, (while maintaining a nutrient rich diet) and should incorporate some sort of physical activity in their daily routine. This will help RA patients in maintaining optimal weight, and should improve physical function as well as quality of life.