Arthritis: Calcium

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Vitamin D helps your bones absorb calcium. It’s also important for fighting inflammation, coordinating muscle movement and communication between nerves. Calcium helps maintains strong bones and teeth, release essential enzymes and hormones and regulate muscle contractions.

Vitamin D, Calcium & Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one of the most common types of inflammatory arthritis. It’s a chronic, long-term disease that progresses over time. The cause of rheumatoid arthritis isn’t known, although experts believe it’s an autoimmune disease that occurs when your immune system begins to attack the joints. Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include joint pain, swelling and stiffness. At first, rheumatoid arthritis usually only attacks a few joints, but over time it affects more. Many people experience worse RA pain in the morning or after they’ve been sitting or lying down for awhile. It can also cause fatigue. Vitamin D deficiency is common in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and may even be linked to musculoskeletal pain. People with arthritis commonly take oral steroids, which can also contribute to vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency can increase your risk of:

• Osteoporosis 
• Bone fractures and pain 
• Hearing loss 

If you have arthritis, your primary care provider may recommend blood testing to check for a vitamin D deficiency. Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include:

• Frequent infections 
• Chronic pain 
• Gastrointestinal problems 
• Depression 
• Weak bones 

How to Get Enough Calcium & Vitamin D

Food is your best source of vitamin D and calcium. You can get calcium from foods such as low-fat milk, cheese and yogurt. Foods rich in vitamin D include fatty fish like tuna and salmon, egg yolks and cheese. Some foods are fortified with vitamin D, including orange juice, soy milk and cereal. You can also get vitamin D from the sun. If you don't get enough vitamin D and calcium from food, you may need to take a supplement.

Talk to your healthcare provider if you'd like more information on calcium and vitamin D. 

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Print this Action Plan and check off items that you want to discuss with your healthcare provider

  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one of the most common types of inflammatory arthritis. It’s a chronic, long-term disease that progresses over time.

  • Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include joint pain, swelling and stiffness. At first, rheumatoid arthritis usually only attacks a few joints, but over time it affects more.

  • Vitamim  D deficiency is common in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and may even be linked to musculoskeletal pain. People with arthritis commonly take oral steroids, which can also contribute to vitamin D deficiency.

  • Food is your best source of vitamin D and calcium. You can get calcium from foods such as low-fat milk, cheese and yogurt. Foods rich in vitamin D include fatty fish like tuna and salmon, egg yolks and cheese.

  • If you don't get enough vitamin D and calcium from food, you may need to take a supplement.

Adherence:
Adhering to your medications, prescribed exercises or lifestyle changes (such as dietary changes, smoking cessation, reduced alcohol consumption, etc.) is essential to improving health outcomes successfully. Compliance to any prescribed treatment is the number one thing you can do to ensure positive changes and optimal treatment outcomes.

  A local Registered Dietitian In treating patients a  registered dietitian can also educate them on meal planning, lowering cholesterolnutritional requirements for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes and anorexia and bulimia recovery

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