Samaritan Senior Care, providing home care to the Treasure Valley, presents…
July is Juvenile Arthritis awareness month, but Arthritis affects everyone, especially those older in age.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a condition that can cause swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion in your joints. Arthritis symptoms can range from mild to severe and may get worse over time.
Arthritis is one of the most common health conditions in the United States, and a leading cause of disability. Almost 59 million adults (1 in 4), have arthritis that has been diagnosed by a doctor.
Nearly 26 million are unable to do everyday activities because of arthritis.
Physical activity can help relieve arthritis symptoms, like joint pain and stiffness, that limit activities. CDC works to improve the quality of life for adults who live with arthritis and other chronic conditions by promoting physical activity and self-management education interventions.
One in three adults with arthritis are not physically active (30%), have fair to poor health (33%), and have severe joint pain (33%), according to a recent CDC study. Increasing awareness of and access to arthritis interventions can help improve the health and quality of life for adults living with arthritis and other chronic conditions.
Types of Arthritis
There are more than 100 types of arthritis. The two most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
This “wear and tear” arthritis is the most common form. It often comes with age, but can also result from injury or being overweight. It happens when the tissue that cushions your joints wears away, causing pain and stiffness. Osteoarthritis can affect any joint in your body, but is most common in hands, knees, hips and spine. Symptoms vary, depending on the joints affected. They often worsen over time. Talk with your doctor if you notice these signs of osteoarthritis:
Pain deep in the joint
Trouble gripping things, squatting or climbing stairs
Limited range of motion
Morning stiffness that improves with activity
Stiffness after resting
This autoimmune disease causes joints to become inflamed. If you don’t treat it, the inflammation can cause severe joint damage. Rheumatoid arthritis usually affects more than one joint and can spread to other parts of the body, including the heart, lungs and eyes. Some people who have rheumatoid arthritis get lumps that form over joint areas, often on knuckles, elbows and heels.o Doctors don’t know for sure what causes rheumatoid arthritis. Some think it happens when a bacteria or virus confuses the immune system and causes it to attack joints. Signs may come on suddenly or develop over time. They are often more severe than osteoarthritis. It’s important to see your doctor if you notice:
Pain, stiffness or swelling in multiple joints
Symmetrical pattern — if your left wrist is inflamed, your right wrist will likely be inflamed as well
More of your joints may become painful and swollen over time
Swelling doesn’t go away and may affect your ability to work, walk or manage daily activities like dressing or driving
Fatigue and weight loss
How You Can Reduce Your Risk
- Stay at a healthy weight. Extra pounds put pressure on weight-bearing joints like hips and knees. Each pound you gain adds nearly four pounds of stress on your knees and puts six times the pressure on your hips.
- Control your blood sugar. High blood sugar can stiffen the tissue that supports your joints and make them more sensitive to stress.
- Exercise. Just 30 minutes of exercise five times a week helps joints stay limber and strengthens the muscles that support your knees and hips. Focus on low-impact exercises like walking, cycling or swimming.
- Stretch. Gentle stretching can improve your range of motion and keep your joints limber. Try to work in simple stretches into every day.
- Avoid injury. An injured joint is more likely to develop arthritis than one that was never injured. Wear protective gear when playing sports and always lift with your knees and hips, not your back.
- Quit smoking. Smoking puts stress on tissues that protect your joints and can lead to arthritis pain.
- Eat fish twice a week. Eat fish high in Omega-3s, like salmon, trout and mackerel. Omega-3s have many health benefits and may reduce inflammation.
- Get routine preventative care. Your doctor may be able to suggest lifestyle changes that can help reduce your risk or slow the progress of arthritis.
If you start to develop arthritis, see your doctor as soon as symptoms appear. The longer you wait to seek treatment, the more joint damage arthritis may cause. Your doctor can suggest treatment that can slow the progress of arthritis and help keep you mobile.
Arthritis treatments include:
- Drugs that reduce pain and inflammation. These can include over-the-counter drugs like aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen, or drugs your doctor may prescribe.
- Drugs that suppress the immune system. These may be taken orally or injected into the affected joint.
- Topical creams and ointments. Commonly available over the counter, these treatments are applied to the skin to reduce joint aches and pains.
- Physical therapy. In some cases, physical therapy may help strengthen muscles and improve range of motion.
- Surgery. Joints that are severely damaged by arthritis may need to be repaired or replaced. Joints most commonly replaced are hips and knees.
Arthritis can affect anyone and gets worse with age, so do what you can now to protect yourself and your health.
Samaritan Senior Care is a locally owned Home Care provider serving the greater Boise and Meridian Area. We have a wonderful team of caregivers who are dedicated to providing the love and support clients need to stay safely in their home or apartment. Services include cooking, cleaning, companionship, personal care, etc., hourly up to 24-hr. Contact us today for a free consultation, we look forward to meeting you