There are no current guidelines to reduce your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA) because the exact cause is not known. Managing certain RA risk factors may help. Steps include:

  • Quit smoking —When you quit smoking, the body begins to repair itself almost immediately. Increased RA risk is associated with more years of smoking.
  • Maintain a healthy weight— Obesity (primarily in women) may be linked to:     
  • Higher overall risk of RA
  • Earlier onset of RA, generally before 55 years of age
  • Increased risk of RA when overweight at 18 years of age
  • Drink alcohol in moderation—Some studies have suggested that moderate alcohol consumption is associated with reduced risk of RA. Moderate alcohol intake means 2 drinks or less per day for men, and 1 drink or less per day for women. Choosing not to drink alcohol is also acceptable.