Arthritis is a type of joint disorder that involves inflammation of one or more joints. Arthritis is a common health condition that leads to pain and inflammation in a joint. Almost 350 million people worldwide have arthritis. Approximately 40 million persons only in the United States are affected by arthritis; over a quarter million of them are children. In the past, conditions related to joints was evaluated under the broad heading of rheumatism. But now there are over 100 types of arthritis include the most common one which is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis can be the result of an infection in the joint, trauma to the joint or the natural aging process. Any joint can develop osteoarthritis, but it mostly affects the joints of the knee, hip, hands, neck, base of the thumb, ends of fingers, feet, spine, shoulder and big toes. Patients usually have to deal with constant, localized pain in the affected joint area.
Let’s take a look at a few simple ways that can help us relive some of the pain and prevent arthritis.
Maintaining A Normal Body Weight
Some of the most common arthritis symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased the range of motion. Symptoms may be mild, moderate or severe, also may progress or get worse over time. Severe arthritis can cause chronic pain as well as the inability to do daily activities such as walking or climbing stairs. As well as the joints, some types of arthritis may also affect the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys, and skin.
One of the most common causes and risk factors for arthritis is excess body weight. The more pressure and weight we put on our joints, the faster they will wear out. If you are suffering from arthritis and have some excess weight, it’s essential to reduce stress on your joints through a diet.
High Heels Are an Arthritis Risk Factor
Humans were not meant to walk on the tips of our feet all day long, so it’s a good idea to avoid high heels as this tends to put a lot of stress on the toes and their joints. A poll applied by Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists and involving 2,000 people shows that a quarter of women wear high heels every day or "frequently". However, experts warned that high heels could transform the body's posture and increase the pressure on the foot, ankle and knee joints, thus increasing the risk of osteoarthritis.
Avoid High Impact Exercises
Soccer, football, long distance running are high impact exercises – they put a lot of pressure on the joints and can ultimately wear down cartilage and thus lead to arthritis. But it’s not all bad news, non-impact exercises like swimming or biking allow you to stay active and protect your joints at the same time. Regular and compatible physical activity can help pain relief, give you more energy, make you feel more positive and of course lose weight. Therefore, it is always a good idea to stay as active as your health allows, without forcing yourself and your joints.
Improve Your Body Mechanics
The term body mechanics refers to the way we move in everyday activities. Good body mechanics may prevent or correct problems with posture and also protect your body, especially your back, from pain and injury.
If you try to be careful when performing hard physical tasks, you may avoid stress on the joints; thus you can prevent arthritis by simply preserving cartilage. Lifting with your legs instead of your back is one of the best examples of good body mechanics; lifting with your back can lead to other injuries, as well.
Avoid Activities That Can Damage Your Joints or Cartilage
There is a strong link between osteoarthritis and certain sports activities. You should basically listen to your body – if you do a certain activity and it causes even more pain, try to stay away from it and substitute it for something else. Know your body’s limits and start your exercise program with baby steps; there’s no point in overdoing it because it can backfire.
Vitamin D Supplements Can Be An Option
There is some correlation between osteoarthritis and Vitamin D levels, and a simple blood test should be enough to figure out if you have a Vitamin D deficiency. If that’s the case, taking supplements can be an option, but you shouldn’t overdo it. You should get all the vitamin D you need from natural sunlight in the spring and summer months, but taking a daily supplement of vitamin D is also recommended especially during the autumn and winter months.
Drinking Water Is the Simplest Way to Prevent Arthritis
One of the simplest forms of arthritis prevention is staying hydrated. Hydration plays a vital role in flushing toxins out of your body, and it can help fight inflammation. Drinking enough water can help keep your joints well lubricated. If you drink water before a meal, you can also eat less, which cause weight loss.
Cartilage is made up mostly of water, so it’s a good idea to drink around 7 cups of water each day. If you are dehydrated, your cartilage can get damaged more easily, and this can lead to another set of problems. Always keep a water bottle close by.
Avoid Tobacco and Alcohol
Smoking is an absolutely bad idea for anyone with arthritis, while it’s an unhealthy habit that puts your heart and lungs at risk, as well. The infrequent wine, beer, or cocktail may be accepted for people with arthritis. But, in this case, the amount and frequency you drink alcohol matters.
Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to a wide range of health issues, including arthritis. Alcohol dehydrates the body as well, so your cartilage will be more exposed to wear and tear.
Avoid Refined Carbohydrates and Sugar
A diet high in sugar or refined carbohydrates can lead to inflammation of the joints. Excessive salt in your diet can do the same. The best thing you can do is avoid sodas, processed foods, candy and white flour in your diet. Eating lots of fiber is also important for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) which are autoimmune diseases that can lead to joint pain and damage throughout your body. According to some researchers, fiber may help reduce inflammatory responses which can be seen as a decrease in C-reactive protein levels. Add whole grain foods, fresh vegetables, and fresh fruit to your daily diet.
Eat More Omega 3 Rich Fish
First way to calm inflammation of arthritis is treatment your doctor decides. Another way is to add a few anti-inflammatory foods to your regular diet. One of the most effective eatable inflammation fighters is essential fatty acids called Omega-3s.
Omega-3s interfere with immune cells and enzymes which are important players in the body’s inflammatory response. Certain types of fish such as Herring, Tuna or Salmon are very rich in Omega 3 fatty acids.
This content is edited by Flymedi Medical Editors in April 2019.