Learn How to Prevent Arthritis

Posted on June 10, 2021

Do you feel pain and stiffness in your joints? Is it affecting your quality of life? You might have arthritis. 

Data shows that arthritis is the most prevalent chronic health condition in Canada. Six million Canadians have arthritis. That's 1 in 5 Canadians or about 20% of the country's population. 

There's no cure for this condition, but the good news is that there are ways to prevent it. Read this article to learn how to prevent arthritis. 

How to Prevent Arthritis

Arthritis is a condition that has the potential of significantly affecting a person's quality of life. There are several actions one can take to reduce their risk of developing it. 

What Is Arthritis

Arthritis is an umbrella term for a group of conditions that affect the joints. The joints are the part of the body where two or more bones meet. Joints are mobile, so they enable the bones to move. 

This condition can also affect tissues. These include those that are around the joint, as well as other connective tissues.  

There are over more than 100 types of conditions that affect the joints. The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Other types of arthritis include gout and lupus. 

OA is the most prevalent type of arthritis. Ageing is the main factor that contributes to the onset of OA. A joint injury can also lead to the onset of OA.

Wear and tear characterize the onset of OA. It's due to the overuse of the joints. 

Due to the overuse of the joints, the amount of cartilage present on the end of the bones will break down over time. You can think of cartilage as the body's shock absorber. This slippery material serves as a cushion for the joints. 

RA is an autoimmune disease. The immune system of a person who suffers from RA will attack different parts of the body. This will mostly affect the joints. 

Why Arthritis Happens?

Nonmodifiable and modifiable are the two categories of risk factors for arthritis. Nonmodifiable risk factors can't be changed. 

Family history is a type of nonmodifiable risk factor. If a person's family has a history of arthritis, the person will have a higher likelihood of developing it. Offspring of parents who have arthritis do have a higher risk for it. 

As a person ages, their risk for arthritis can increase. Adults 60 and over have the highest risk for developing arthritis. It's important to note that RA can begin at any age. 

Women are more likely than men to develop RA. In contrast, men are more likely to develop gout and other types of arthritis. 

One can change modifiable risk factors. Lifestyle changes are the best ways to address these factors. 

Smoking is one of the modifiable risk factors that can increase a person's risk for developing RA. It can make the disease worse too. 

Obesity is another modifiable risk factor. An excess amount of weight puts stress on joints. Knees, hips, and spine are the joints that are most affected by obesity.

What Are the Symptoms of Arthritis

The symptoms of this condition differ depending on the type of arthritis. The most common symptoms of arthritis include joint pain and stiffness. Swelling is another common symptom. 

Arthritis can affect the range of motion. It can cause one's range of motion to decrease. This can limit a person's ability to walk or even complete daily tasks such as getting dressed. 

Redness of the skin around the joint and muscle weakness are other common symptoms. Most people who suffer from arthritis often experience fatigue. 

These symptoms develop over time. In some cases, the symptoms may have a sudden onset. 

People who have RA may experience other serious symptoms. They might experience a loss of appetite. 

RA can also lead to a decrease in red blood cell count. This can result in anemia. It can result in a fever. 

Diagnosing Arthritis

If you're suffering from any of these symptoms, you should see your primary doctor. Your primary care physician will conduct a physical exam to see if you have arthritis. 

The physical exam will focus on the joints. The PCP will check for fluid around the joints. The PCP will also assess for red or warm joints. 

Your PCP will ask you to move during the exam to assess your range of motion. The findings will help the PCP determine if there's a need to refer you to a specialist. 

A rheumatologist will conduct more comprehensive assessments. This specialist will examine the inflammation levels. Your doctor will order a blood test for this.

The rheumatologist might also choose to order imaging scans. These can include an X-ray and MRI. These scans can produce an image of the bones and cartilage that help to rule out other conditions. 

Arthritis Treatment

Arthritis treatment focuses on reducing the symptoms. Pain management and preventing damage to the joints are the goal of treatment. 

Analgesics are among the medications that can treat pain. These include hydrocodone and acetaminophen. 

A doctor might also prescribe medicinal creams for the pain. These can include menthol or capsaicin creams. They work by blocking the transmission of pain signals from the joints.

To treat inflammation, doctors might prescribe salicylates. For minor cases of inflammation, over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen are good. For severe cases, immunosuppressants are ideal. 

Physical therapy can also help to treat arthritis. Exercises are a big part of physical therapy. They can help strengthen the muscles around the affected joints. 

If the medications and physical therapy don't offer relief, surgery might be an option. Surgery involves the replacement of the joints with artificial ones. A joint fusion is a surgery that most surgeons elect to perform. 

Because arthritis is a chronic condition, it requires a lot of treatment. The cost of treatment can add up fast. Patients with arthritis should have good health insurance to alleviate financial burden. No person who suffers from this condition should have to suffer more because they can't afford to pay for their treatment. 

Arthritis Complications

It's essential to get treatment for arthritis. Failure to get treatment can increase one's risk for complications. The complications of this condition are serious. 

Severe arthritis can affect a person's ability to use their arms and hands. This can make it difficult to take a shower or cook. People who suffer from arthritis might also have trouble walking or sitting up straight. 

Untreated arthritis can also lead to the development of joint deformities. It can cause the joints to twist. 

Arthritis can become so debilitating that it can cause people to be no able to perform their work.  

Ways to Prevent Arthritis 

Yes, there are ways that you can prevent arthritis. If you're at risk for arthritis, you have to make changes in your life. Arthritis prevention starts by addressing modifiable risk factors. 

This is a must for people who are obese. Weight loss is essential. After losing weight, one must continue to maintain their weight. 

A healthy diet that includes fruits and vegetables helps to reduce inflammation. Fish and nuts are also great. Avoiding fried foods and a high intake of meat is a must. 

Regular exercise can also help to prevent the onset of arthritis. It helps to keep the joints flexible and strong

Swimming is a great option. It doesn't put a lot of pressure on the joints. Running does put pressure on the joints, so you might want to do some light walking instead. 

There are exercises that you can do at home too. Two great forms of exercise involve leg raises and hamstring stretches. They can help to reduce the probability of arthritis of knee joints. 

Preventing arthritis isn't difficult if you have the knowledge and resources. If you need help, you should speak with your doctor. Your doctor can provide you with the information you need to help reduce your risk of developing Arthritis. 

Arthritis Prevention Is a Must

Arthritis is a group of conditions that can cause significant pain and stiffness in the joints. It can lead to poor quality of life. People who suffer from arthritis must undergo treatment to improve their quality of life. 

People who are at risk for arthritis must learn how to prevent arthritis. They need to make the necessary changes to prevent early on in life.

It's important that people who suffer from this condition have good health insurance. If you need health insurance, contact Insurdinary to get a quote.  

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