A Beginner’s Guide to Addressing and Coping with Arthritis

Our bodies will eventually stop working as well as they once did. That is to be expected. But the reality is that everyone wants to age gracefully and with as little discomfort as possible.

With age comes the wear and tear of bones and joints. Your movements become stiffer and less flexible. You become more vulnerable to arthritis. There are more than a hundred types of arthritis. The most common ones (which include a couple you’ve probably experienced before) are osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and lupus.

You can reduce your risk of developing arthritis as you get older by practicing a few healthy habits. When it comes to taking care of our health, we go back to the basics, diet and exercise.

Adjust Your Diet

Making dietary changes can help lower the severity and likelihood of arthritis. There are many foods and dishes beneficial to your joints and overall health.  According to the Arthritis Foundation, some foods contribute to combating arthritis. Fish and soy are for omega-3 fatty acids, and dairy and broccoli are for bone-building and strength. Meanwhile, green tea and garlic slow down cartilage destruction, and grains and beans help lower C-reactive protein found in the blood that’s associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

Just as there are foods to help prevent or mitigate the symptoms of arthritis, there are trigger foods, too. These foods to avoid include added sugars processed food, red meats, foods with gluten, alcohol, oils high in omega-6 fats, salty foods, and foods high in AGEs (advanced glycation end-products).

Tweak your meal plan with these things in mind. To take the step further, talk to your doctor or dietitian about an effective diet for your long-term needs.

Exercise Regularly

Doing physical activities like walking, swimming, or even stretching helps strengthen your joints. Regular exercise bolsters your joints by strengthening the muscles around them.

Maintaining a healthy weight that your knees and joints can support is ideal. Being overweight means your joints have to bear more weight than they should. This may cause stress and strain on them. But with exercise and a healthy diet, you will be able to lose and maintain a healthy weight for your joint and yourself.

Other Ways to Reduce Risks

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are other ways to help reduce risks. Learn about them and keep them in mind.

Avoid Excessive Exercise

Too much of a good thing can become a negative thing. When exercising, don’t overdo it. Make sure to choose low-impact exercise routines and rest your joints when tired. In fact, don’t do anything that involves overusing them. This may cause stress and injury from repetitive bending and might even develop into osteoarthritis.

Quit Smoking 

Smoking can increase the risk of rheumatoid arthritis and can even worsen it. It makes it difficult to exercise too. Aside from arthritis, continued use may cause other health issues.

Be Cautious of Infections

Microbiological agents, such as bacteria and viruses may cause infection in joints. These may trigger the development of arthritis. If you find your joints swollen, red, or warm, be sure to see your doctor.

Other Risks That Can’t Be Controlled

The CDC reports that other risk factors cannot be controlled or mitigated. Firstly, a person’s age. Everyone’s bound to get older, and there’s no remedy for that. Secondly, it’s a person’s gender. Most forms of arthritis are seen in women, while gout is more common in men. Nobody really knows how this came to be and why this is the case. Lastly, a person’s genes. Some people were born with genes (specifically, human leukocyte antigen or HLA) that make them more vulnerable to arthritis than others. Unfortunately, the HLA gene is also known to make arthritis worse.

Although arthritis cannot be totally prevented, it is possible to manage the discomfort and curb its progression. By making the necessary changes in your daily routine for younger adults or choosing care such as senior living facilities for older adults, you can help reduce this consequence of aging.

No matter what age a person has, health will always be relevant. Granting that arthritis is normal in old age doesn’t mean that you should stop looking out for your health. Your comfort and convenience are important too. By taking care of your health, you are taking care of your well-being in extension.

If and when you do get arthritis, see your doctor. Arthritis frequently worsens with time. Consult your doctor as soon as you can to mitigate its effects.

Meta title: Mitigate the Discomfort of Arthritis with These Methods
meta desc: Although arthritis is inevitable, that doesn’t mean people can’t do anything to ease the discomfort. Here’s how one can deal with the pain it brings.