Joint disease, or arthritis, can involve common symptoms like painful, stiff, and/or swollen joints. Including related conditions, there are approximately 100 forms. It can affect skin, lungs, the heart, eyes, organs, and connective tissues. Surface signs of arthritis include knobby, thick fingers. Where the bones connect, deeper down, it can wield damage of a debilitating nature. Even in soft tissue.
Arthritis currently affects one in four American adults. It is thought, for adults 18 years of age or more, 78 million will have arthritis by the year 2040. Clearly, a hot topic for many is arthritis prevention. This is particularly the case for older adults. What can be done to stave off arthritis or at least manage it?
Arthritis Types and Risk Factors
With varying degrees of pain severity, arthritis can persist steadily or it can come and go. Common arthritis types include the following:
- Psoriatic arthritis – Typically associated with psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis. Toes, fingers, feet, ankles, knees, and hands may experience swelling in those with psoriatic arthritis.
- RA or rheumatoid arthritis – The body’s healthy tissues are attacked by an immune response in the case of rheumatoid arthritis. Painful inflammation is triggered by the joint linings eroding.
- OA or osteoarthritis – The deterioration and thinning of connective tissue (cartilage) occur in this most common type of arthritis. This results in pain during the movement of the affected joints.
Though arthritis prevention is a great idea, it isn’t always possible. However, by making certain lifestyle changes, most forms of arthritis can be slowed or minimized. Prevent degenerative arthritis and keep joints healthy by doing the following:
- Don’t smoke or quit if you do
- Protect/boost your immune system
- Repetitive movements should be lessened if possible
- Avoid injuries to cartilage, ligaments, and joints
- A healthy weight should be maintained
To reduce chronic pain and lessen joint changes, early diagnosis with a thorough evaluation and on-target treatment goes a long way. The improvement of a person’s function and mobility, as well as the reduction of symptoms, is a central goal when treating and managing arthritis. A doctor may recommend the following at-home care tips – or a combination thereof – for mild to moderate arthritis symptoms:
- To maintain a healthy weight, eat nutritious foods. Include anti-inflammatory foods to boost the body (i.e., fatty fish, leafy, green vegetables, etc.)
- Protect the joint from strain and overuse and allow it to rest
- Around the affected joint, strengthen the muscles
- While still getting sufficient rest, try to stay active
- To soothe pain, apply cold and heat therapies
- Take antirheumatic drugs or prescription corticosteroids
- Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines or pain relievers
Discourage Arthritis by Staying Physically Active at Spring Mill
With Spring Mill’s Dimensions Health and Fitness Program and special activities like dances and other celebrations, your loved one is apt to stay physically active and fitter. Arthritis and many other afflictions can be avoided or better managed by getting regular exercise. Socialization also helps put off many conditions that are common in older adults. What’s more, three healthy, nutritious meals a day are served which also take into consideration any dietary restrictions necessary. Contact us if you have any questions.