Arthritis doesn’t care who it hurts, but these tips can help

It might surprise you to know that arthritis, in its various forms, is the number one cause of disability in the United States. According to figures from the Arthritis Foundation, there are over 50 million Americans affected by the condition, consisting of 1 in 5 adults and 300,000 children. Arthritis doesn’t discriminate, but sufferers tend to be older, and their loved ones can make positive choices to help them handle its effects.

Focus on the physical

It’s important to consult with a physician regarding all aspects of our health, yet even those suffering from severe arthritis can benefit from some positive personal habits. The Mayo Clinic stresses the importance of non-smoking and weight management, both of which lessen present and long-term arthritic effects. It’s also good to avoid being stationary for too long. This can be as simple as carefully moving joints and limbs every so often while sitting. Gentle weight loss can be encouraged by standing up and taking a small walk once every half hour.

The emphasis here is on low impact exertion, so avoid high impact activities which involve jumping, running, or repetitive motions on a single joint or muscle. Don’t forget: resting at the right times will also help arthritis as much as any exercise.

Monitoring the medicinal

There are a wide variety of medicines designed to combat the effects of arthritis which take forms such as oral pills, injections, body creams and gels. For milder arthritic symptoms, over-the-counter products such as aspirin and Tylenol can relieve discomfort. More significant symptoms can require a doctor’s prescription, therapy or surgery. No medication is free of side-effects, so it’s very important to speak to a physician about which of the possible options would be beneficial.

Don’t forget the diet

Since weight loss is a core part of relieving stress on joints and muscles, diet can play a big part in managing arthritis. From the “Mediterranean diet” suggestions of lots of olive oil and fish, to old healthcare staples like broccoli, citrus fruits and grains, good food that lowers inflammation can be a fast friend in staying on top of symptoms. Check out this slideshow for some tasty tips.

Mind over matter

Arthritis is not just an “old person’s disease.” Nonetheless, it can have a strong negative impact on all age groups, including the elderly, who might see it as such. If you’re in touch with an arthritis sufferer, remind them there is no true stigma attached. If you feel they may have given up or want to “lie down” to arthritis, offer to participate with them in any activities which might provide relief or prevention. In the end, everyone can benefit from the physical and nutritional steps we’ve listed above, or these other tips on staying healthy from our blog!

Finding Further Information

There are a number of organizations highlighted by WebMD that can offer you more information and advice on the various forms and treatments of arthritis.

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Written by Jack Maloney