Do you wake up feeling stiff in your knees and back? Does it hurt your hands when you open a bottle of apple juice? Do your hips feel sore after a few laps around the block?
If you answered yes to one or all of these questions, you might have arthritis. By definition, arthritis is the inflammation of the joints. Every year millions of people are diagnosed with this condition and as we get older, the chances of developing arthritis increases. If you think you might have it, it’s important to see your doctor for an examination. Once diagnosed, there are medications and natural supplements that may help with the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.
There are two common forms of arthritis. The first is osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease that involves the deterioration of the cartilage, and the second is rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disorder that causes the person’s immune system to attack the joints and synovium. Of the two, osteoarthritis is more common.
When it comes to arthritis, there are some risk factors that we really don’t have any control over. The first one is age. The fact is, the older you are, the more likely you are to develop arthritis. Your gender may also be a factor. Most types of arthritis are more common in women than in men; 60 percent of all people with arthritis are women. Another issue that we don’t have any say in, is our genetics. Specific genes are linked to developing certain types of arthritis, including rheumatoid and systemic lupus erythematous (SLE).
Although there are things that can be done to alleviate the pain associated with arthritis, physicians agree that the best thing to do is prevent arthritis from developing. First and foremost is keeping your weight down in a healthy range. Being overweight can put enormous stress and strain on your joints, so losing weight through a healthy eating and exercise plan can really help.
Exercise can also help keep arthritis at bay. Regular exercise helps our muscles and joints become stronger and flexible, which detours damage by wear and tear.
Other things that may seem simple at first can actually really help keep arthritis from developing, like wearing supportive shoes that fit well, maintaining good posture, being careful when lifting heavy objects and (this one is huge) sitting properly at a desk.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this article, and more tips on how to prevent arthritis!