Prevent Arthritis in Seniors

Arthritis is a common condition that affects millions of people in Canada and United States. It causes pain and stiffness in the joints—as well as reduced range of motion, among other symptoms.

There is no cure for arthritis, but there are things you can do to help prevent it and manage your symptoms if you already have painful joints from arthritis.

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is a type of chronic condition that causes pain and disability. It happens when the lining around your joints gets inflamed or swollen, causing pain. This swelling can also lead to other symptoms like stiffness, fatigue, and mood changes. When you have arthritis you may arthritis symptoms that include:

  • Pain when walking or moving around;
  • An aching sensation when sitting down or standing up;
  • Swelling or tenderness around your joint, especially after exercise (arthritis sufferers may also experience this on one side only).

There are different types of arthritis such as

  1. Osteoarthritis (OA)

    Osteoarthritis is the most common one in older adults while rheumatoid arthritis can affect anyone at any age but mostly affects women during their reproductive years.

  2. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

    Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes painful inflammation in the joints and surrounding tissues. It can also affect other parts of the body, including tendons, muscles, and ligaments.

  3. Psoriatic arthritis (PsA)

    Psoriatic arthritis affects people with psoriasis who have skin lesions on more than 5% of their body surface area.

You may be at risk of developing arthritis pain if you’re over 65 or have family members with the disease. There are many things you can do to prevent it from happening to you, like staying active and eating well.

Arthritis in hands and knees

Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative joint disease. OA occurs when the cartilage that serves as a shock absorber between bones breaks down, resulting in bone-on-bone contact with reduced ability to move easily or painlessly. The joint pain, stiffness and limited range of motion often worsens with prolonged use and time. Most commonly, it affects the knees, hips and spine but can also affect the fingers, hands and feet. Arthritis in hands and knees can be painful and extremely difficult to live with.

In addition to aging and heredity, risk factors for developing osteoarthritis include:

  • obesity;
  • previous injury to a joint;
  • repetitive physical stress on the same joints;
  • smoking;
  • diabetes; and
  • family history of inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis.

How Can I Prevent Arthritis?

Lifestyle changes, dietary habits and regular exercise can also help prevent arthritis pain. Preventing osteoarthritis begins with these steps:

  1. Stay active!
    Exercise is one of the best things you can do to maintain healthy joints and prevent arthritis. Exercise helps increase blood flow to your joints and keeps them flexible. Limit the amount of time you spend sitting for prolonged periods. You don’t have to exercise for long periods of time, but try to get up and move around every 30 or 60 minutes. Studies have shown that regular exercise reduces the risk of developing osteoarthritis by up to 50%. It also improves circulation, which keeps your joints healthy and strong.

  2. Maintain a healthy weight!
    Unhealthy weight gain and obesity puts extra strain on all of your joints. Maintaining a healthy weight will help keep your knees strong and healthy. Keep the access stress off your joints and skeletal system to void sprains and strains. This excess stress may also slow down healing over time and could lead to worse arthritis down the road. If you are overweight or obese, talk to your doctor about how much weight loss may be appropriate for you.

  3. Avoid smoking!
    Smoking is known to cause a lot of health problems, including osteoarthritis. The more you smoke, the higher your risk of osteoarthritis. When you smoke, you increase your risk of developing osteoarthritis by damaging your joints and increasing inflammation in them. Smoking reduces the blood supply to your bones and cartilage, making it difficult for them to heal if they are broken or damaged. Smoking increases your risk of osteoarthritis by 20% and heavy drinking increases it by 10%, according to research from Harvard Medical School.

  4. Stay hydrated!

    Water helps lubricate your joints and keeps them flexible by keeping them from grinding against each other, which can lead to pain and inflammation. Also, by staying hydrated and drinking at least eight glasses of water per day, you can help reduce joint pain and swelling. Make sure you drink plenty of water every day (64 oz is recommended) so that they stay hydrated and healthy!

  5. Balanced Diet Enriched With Vitamins Can Help!

    Eat a balanced diet rich in vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, and beta-carotene (found in leafy green vegetables like spinach). These nutrients help protect against oxidative stress, which may increase your risk of developing osteoarthritis as you age. Get plenty of calcium—but not too much! Studies show that calcium supplements can actually increase your risk of developing osteoarthritis if taken in high doses—so stick with food sources instead! Reduce the amount of calcium supplements in your body. A study found vitamin D deficiencies were widespread for patients with arthritis and may cause musculoskeletal pain and discomfort. Vitamins are essential for health, and lack of them can be a major issue for the immune system.

  6. Get enough sleep!
    It’s not just children who need their beauty rest—your body needs it too! Lack of sleep can lead to chronic inflammation, which can exacerbate arthritis symptoms. Try to get at least eight hours per night and schedule naps if necessary.

Arthritis is a debilitating condition that can make it hard to move and feel like yourself. But there are many things you can do for arthritis prevention and for joint problems from getting worse and relieve pain—and even delay its onset!

How To Stay Active with OA

Because it is important to stay active when you have osteoarthritis. You must also be cautious and choose exercises that are low impact and ‘easy’ on your joints. Switching from jogging to walking or swimming can be beneficial and also create healthy habits to manage arthritis. The following exercises can help you strengthen the muscles around your joints and reduce pain from OA:

  1. Walking is one of the best exercises for people with OA because it’s easy on your joints and doesn’t put pressure on them. Try to walk at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week.

  2. Swimming is another low-impact exercise that can help improve flexibility while strengthening muscles around your joints.

  3. Yoga exercises are low-impact but can be more challenging than walking or swimming. Yoga helps increase flexibility in your joints while strengthening muscles around them.

  4. Strengthening exercises can help improve balance and reduce your risk of falling. Use light weights. It’s important to avoid heavy weightlifting. Instead, try using light weights or resistance bands.

Preventing arthritis with the right food

  • Eat fish.
    Fish is one of the best natural sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation in the body and can help treat arthritis. Salmon, mackerel, halibut, tuna and sardines are all great options because they’re high in omega-3s while being low in mercury (a toxin that can be harmful to your health).

  • Avoid saturated fats.
    Saturated fats increase inflammation in the body’s joints and muscles, which makes them more susceptible to injury—especially if you’re an older adult who has already developed arthritis. You should also avoid margarine and butter because both contain large amounts of saturated fat!

  • Eat plenty of fruits and veggies every day!
    These foods contain antioxidants like vitamin C that fight off free radicals that damage cells throughout your body including those found within joints suffering from osteoarthritis if consumed regularly enough (at least five servings per day). Try adding different kinds each time so there’s no chance for boredom–you’ll never get tired of eating fresh produce!

Final Thoughts

Arthritis prevention can be done by eating right, exercising and managing your stress. Eating a healthy diet will help you avoid many of the diseases that can lead to arthritis later on in life. Exercise helps strengthen your joints so they are less likely break down later on when it comes time for treatment options like surgery or medications. Managing stress is also important because high levels usually cause inflammation which leads directly into an inflamed joint!

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