one of the many diseases that pose a serious threat to healthy living is arthritis. It’s an illness that comes with age and sometimes can be gotten through hereditary links. This makes it one disease whose prevention must be taken seriously.
Here are some things you need to know about arthritis, its causes, and how you can prevent or treat it.
Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more joints, causing pain and stiffness that can worsen with age. Signs and symptoms of arthritis include:
- Inflammation around the joints like ankles, wrist, fingers, and wrists
- Stiffness in some parts of the body especially the neck
- difficulty walking or muscle weakness
- Fatigue or malaise
- Physical deformity or redness
There are typically two types of arthritis which include osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). OA mainly results when wear and tear of cartilage cause bones to rub together, leading to friction, damage, and inflammation. On the other hand, RA is a systemic condition that triggers symptoms throughout the body. It’s an autoimmune disease and happens when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy joint tissue.
Causes of arthritis
Several factors can be said to be responsible for arthritis. Some of them include:
As we grow older, the water content in the cartilage reduces thereby reducing its ability to cushion and absorb shock. The elastic property of ligaments and other connective tissues also reduces.
Overweight and obesity
Obesity is a major risk for degenerative arthritis of the lower extremities. The excess load placed on bones and joints increases the pressure on these joints causing cartilage in these joints to wear down. It also causes a lot of pain and discomfort.
Reducing weight can help reduce the risk of arthritis especially in overweight and obese
Foods to avoid when managing arthritis pain include nuts, trans fats, refined carbs, and white sugar, garlic, and onion, citrus fruits, processed and fried foods, gluten-containing food, foods high in salt content, processed and red meats, foods high in ages, and alcohol.
One is likely to catch arthritis if one is from a family with such medical history. If the medical antecedents reveal that at a point, one or more members of the family have had the disease; for instance, a granny or grandpa or a paternal uncle or whatsoever, the likelihood of contracting a disease is very high too.
How to deal with arthritis
Most times, the condition is benign, as such, it can be treated. If properly managed through any of the following methods, it’s bound to turn out well.
Massage can provide an overall sense of well-being. It may also help manage joint pain and discomfort.
The ACR/AF do not currently recommend massage as a treatment, as they say, there’s not enough evidence to confirm that it works. They add, however, that massage is unlikely to pose a risk and may provide indirect benefits, such as reducing stress. Ask your doctor to recommend a massage therapist who has experience in treating people with arthritis. Alternatively, you could ask a physical therapist to teach you self-massage.
acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical treatment that involves inserting thin needles into specific points on your body. Practitioners say it works by rerouting energies and restoring balance in your body. Acupuncture may reduce arthritis pain, and the ACR/AF conditionally recommends it. While there’s not enough evidence to confirm its benefits, the risk of harm is considered low.
Use herbal supplements
several herbal supplements have proven effective over the years in reducing joint pain, although scientific research hasn’t confirmed that any specific herb or supplement can treat arthritis. Some herbs that can be used to treat arthritis include devil’s claw, ginkgo, thunder god vine, Boswellia, and Bromelia.
Follow a healthy diet
A diet that’s rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole foods can help boost your immune system and your overall health. A plant-based diet provides antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation by eliminating free radicals from the body. These foods can also contribute to other health conditions, including obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, and other complications, so they’re likely not beneficial for people with arthritis.
A diet rich in red meat, processed foods, saturated fat, and added sugar and salt may aggravate inflammation, which is a characteristic of arthritis.
Get more physically active
if you have arthritis, aerobic exercise can help you: manage your weight, keep your joints flexible, strengthen muscles around your joints, which offers more support. Current guidelines strongly recommend starting an appropriate exercise program. Exercising with a trainer or another person may be especially beneficial, as it increases motivation.