Heredity versus Lifestyle?

Angie Szumlinski News

For years and years, I assumed that most chronic illnesses are unavoidable, inherited, etc. so imagine my surprise when I read a recent article on Rheumatoid Arthritis! For those of you who are unfamiliar with this debilitating disease, the body’s immune system attacks its own tissue, and over long periods of time, the inflammation can cause bone erosion and joint deformity. The majority of patients with this disease require long-term medications up to and including chemotherapeutic drugs.

Female nurses participated in a study that focused on a healthy lifestyle and used the Healthy Lifestyle Index Score (HLIS) to determine if there was a connection between lifestyle and lowering the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Interesting, they did identify a connection, the data shows the five modifiable components of the HLIS, never smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, maintaining a normal BMI, physical exercise, and eating healthy, was associated with a 14% decrease in incidents of rheumatoid arthritis risk. The biggest contributors to the protective effect were moderate alcohol consumption, smoking abstinence, and normal BMI.

If this doesn’t motivate you to take a look at your lifestyle, I’m not sure what will. Imagine if you could control disease processes that were previously thought to be inherited and unavoidable. Sure, if you previously engaged in smoking activities, you can’t reverse the damage done but consider the other components of the HLIS, get your exercise, eat your vegetables and limit adult beverages! Sounds like something my mom would have said, maybe we should have listened! Stay the course, stay informed, and stay well!