Arthritis is a term used to cover over 100 medical conditions. Osteoarthritis (OA) and Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are two of the most common forms of the disease. Arthritis affects the joints and musculoskeletal system. If you have pain, stiffness, swelling in the joints and have trouble moving around, you could have arthritis.These are the facts on arthritis……
- 50 million or 1 in 5 American adults have been diagnosed with arthritis.
- Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis and is caused by wear and tear damage on the cartilage surrounding the joint bones. Damage can be hastened by joint injury or infection and pain results from the bones grinding directly on each other with no cartilage as a buffer.
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the lining of the joint capsule. The lining becomes inflamed and swollen and eventually destroys the bone and cartilage of the joint.
- Doctor diagnosed arthritis has a low percentage of sufferers under 45 years of age but it increases significantly with age. Almost 50% of people 65 and older will experience some form of arthritis.
- Scientists think that hormones may be a factor in RA with women getting it two and a half times more than men do.
- Children and infants can get a form of the disease called juvenile idiopathic arthritis. (JIA) In the U.S.A. more than 300,000 children suffer from some form of JIA.
What Causes Arthritis?
- Most forms of arthritis are caused by a combination of factors which could include……
- A previous injury.
- Genetic makeup and family history.
- Extra strain on the joints caused by obesity.
- Short-term arthritis may be caused by an infection or allergic reaction.
- A job that is physically demanding and involves repetitive movements.
- Smoking increases the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
- Alcohol can increase the risk of gout which is a severe form of arthritis.
In addition to overeating causing obesity, there are certain types of food that should be avoided. Elimination of fried and processed frozen meals could help to reduce the risk of inflammation in the joints. To reduce your arthritis pain you should reduce sugar consumption, especially foods such as soda, candy and baked goods made with white flour. Dairy foods contain a protein that may irritate the tissue around the joints. Switch your source of protein from meat and dairy to other healthier alternatives such as beans, lentils, spinach and tofu.
These are some of the symptoms that are common in osteoarthritis.
- Difficulty dressing or combing hair.
- Stiffness in the joints after resting or sleeping.
- Swelling of the joints and being warm to the touch.
- Pain when you are walking.
- Loss of motion in a joint.
Arthritis is most common in weight bearing joints like the knees, hip feet and spine. The cartilage creates a buffer between joint bones. As the cartilage wears down mostly through wear and tear, (and other reasons discussed earlier) the bones begin to rub against each other causing painful spurs or bumps may appear on the ends of the bone. These bumps are clearly visible on the hands and feet of advanced arthritis sufferers.
There are several things that we can do to lessen our chances of getting arthritis or to reduce the painful symptoms associated with it.
- Weight loss only makes sense. Each pound lost is a pound that the joints are not burdened with every time we move.
- It is a myth that exercise makes arthritis worse. For optimum joint health, everyone should be doing strength training and aerobic exercise.
- If you have advanced arthritis try things like swimming, which is easy on the joints and great overall exercise.
Whether you are trying to alleviate the symptoms of arthritis now or you hope to avoid getting them in the future. A healthier lifestyle is a factor that you cannot ignore.This includes a variety of exercise and a diet consisting of more natural foods and less of the processed ones.