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Diseases > Osteoarthritis | OA > Diet, Work and Lifestyle

Diet, Work and Lifestyle for People with OA


Questions about diet and arthritis are very common. We all want to know what we can do to help ourselves. Can we change our diet to help our arthritis? Changing our diet gives us a sense of control over a disease which often seems to have a mind of its own.

Unfortunately, there is no diet that has been proven to significantly alter the course of OA or other types of arthritis. Following the basics of healthy eating can help improve health and well-being in everyone, including those with OA. Keeping a healthy weight can help to reduce the load on your weight-bearing joints including the hips, knees and feet.

Work and Travel

How can OA affect my job/career?

The pain and stiffness caused by OA can sometimes limit people’s normal activities, including work. But there are things you can do to lessen the impact of OA on your work and daily routine. Learning how to use your joints properly can help protect your joints from further damage. Adjusting features of your workplace can help make working with OA easier. For example, adjusting the position of chairs and desks for proper posture can help. For some jobs, assistive devices and braces can help protect the joints from the stress of repetitive motions.

Traveling with OA

Traveling is still possible when you have OA. It is best to be organized prior to your trip to ensure a smooth, comfortable, and enjoyable time.


Alcohol consumption

We all like to share a glass of wine, a beer, or a spirit from time to time. Unfortunately, due to the nature of OA, some people may turn to alcohol to help cope with the pain and distress. Alcoholic beverages are not an effective treatment for OA. Sometimes, they can also interact with your medications.


Cigarette smoking, whether you have OA or not, has no positive effects on any aspect of your health. Smoking is recognized as a risk factor for heart disease. Many people who develop OA are older and have other conditions that increase their risk of heart disease. These include high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. If you are a smoker with OA, quitting could be one of the best things you can do to improve your overall health.


Although OA does not particularly cause a loss of sex drive, it can cause pain, fatigue and emotional hardships. These hardships can create barriers to sexual needs, ability and satisfaction. Take comfort knowing that sex and intimacy can be maintained in people with OA … it can even draw partners closer together, especially through improved communication between mates.

For more information on intimacy and arthritis, a great book is Rheumatoid Arthritis: Plan to Win by Sheryl Koehn, Taysha Palmer and John Esdaile.