According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), arthritis affects more than 58 million people in the US. This condition occurs when the joints experience significantly reduced mobility and causes aching, stiffness, swelling, and pain in and around one or more joints.
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The symptoms can develop suddenly or gradually and may prevent an individual from performing everyday tasks. Since arthritis affects a lot of our senior loved ones, let’s explore the different types and how you can help prevent or reduce symptoms.
Types of Arthritis
There are many types of arthritis, but they generally fall under two broad categories.
Inflammatory arthritis is a damaging swelling that occurs for no apparent reason. While inflammation is a normal reaction in humans when there is an injury or when the body is fighting bacteria and viruses, inflammatory arthritis does not occur as a normal response to infection or injury. The inflammation damages affected joints and causes stiffness and pain. Sometimes, this type of arthritis can even damage the surface of joints and the underlying bone.
Joint bones have smooth and slippery cartilage, which facilitates glide and movement. Degenerative or mechanical arthritis damages these cartilages by making them thinner and rougher. As the body compensates for the loss of cartilage to restore stability, bony growths can develop and affect the shape of the joint.
Other types of arthritis include connective tissue disease (CTD), infectious arthritis, metabolic arthritis, childhood arthritis, and septic arthritis.
Tips to Prevent Arthritis
The following are a few ways to prevent or reduce symptoms of arthritis:
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Too much body weight can put an individual at a higher risk of developing arthritis. If you are overweight, you are putting a bigger load on your joints, which can cause arthritis to advance more quickly.
Incorporating Low-Impact Exercise
Exercise won't rebuild cartilage when it erodes. However, staying active can protect joints from injury by increasing bone density. Low-impact exercises such as yoga, swimming, walking, and biking can strengthen muscles that support joints. Stretching also helps maintain your flexibility and range of motion.
Avoid pro-inflammatory foods, as they can increase the risk of arthritis. These include red meat, salt, sugar, and refined carbohydrates. The foods can cause swelling or worsen existing inflammation. Consider foods that can fight inflammation, e.g., whole grains, vegetables, fruits, olive oil, fish, flaxseed oil, etc.
Staying active can help prevent arthritis, however, avoid exercises that can have heavy force on the knee joint. These include participating in sports such as football, weight lifting, and long-distance running. Talk to a professional, e.g., a physical therapist, who can help create a safe, manageable, beneficial exercise routine.
Keeping Up with Regular Doctor Appointments
Seeing your doctor regularly will help identify underlying issues, e.g., being bow-legged or flat-footed, that may put you at risk of developing arthritis. The doctor will also know the action to take in case you experience potential symptoms of arthritis, such as stiffness, swelling, and pain in your joints. Keeping up on regular appointments with a healthcare provider can ensure the issues are addressed to prevent the development of the condition.
If you or your loved one is living with this condition, learning how to improve arthritis can help enhance your quality of life. At Sarasota Bay Club, our state-of-the-art amenities and array of high-quality services are designed to cater to your ideal retirement lifestyle. Contact us now to learn more about us and how we are the retirement community for you.