Arthritis isn’t a single disease or condition. In fact, it’s a collection of over 100 types of joint conditions causing inflammation and often deterioration of affected joints. Almost 60 million Americans have a diagnosed arthritic condition, and the risk climbs as you get older.
Unfortunately, there’s no sure-fire way to avoid arthritis, but there are often steps you can take to reduce your risk or slow the progression of the condition once it starts. As non-surgical arthritis treatment specialists, the team at Joint Regeneration can help you with arthritis management.
We can help with physical therapy, joint injections, anti-inflammatory medications, and lifestyle modifications to guide you through the early and intermediate stages of your condition. To help you understand more about arthritis, we’ve prepared this guide explaining the things you can do to prevent or slow an arthritis condition.
Two main types
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common forms of the condition, though they each cause joint damage in their own way.
Most people develop some form of osteoarthritis as they get older, since it’s a wear-and-tear condition noted for the deterioration of the cartilage covering over the ends of bones forming the joint. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, where your body attacks the synovial membrane, a fluid-filled sac that encloses most of the joints of the body.
Despite these differences, symptoms for each (and many other types of arthritis) include:
- Joint pain
- Loss of range of motion
- Redness or warmth near the joint
Some types of arthritis show their own versions of these symptoms. Gout, for instance, usually causes sharp, localized pain that develops quickly.
Preventing or easing arthritis symptoms
There are cases where the reasons why arthritis starts aren’t known. Rheumatoid arthritis may have a genetic component, so there’s no way you can avoid it when your genetic markers activate. Osteoarthritis may be avoidable in some cases, though it can also run in families.
When certain risk factors are out of your control, there may be other factors for which you can modify your lifestyle. Avoiding these might lower your overall risk, though you could still develop symptoms later.
Carrying extra pounds is a risk factor for osteoarthritis, since the excess weight puts physical strain on certain joints, like the knees and hips. Obesity also has links to psoriatic arthritis, the third-most common form, and rheumatoid arthritis.
If you already have an arthritic condition, losing weight can take strain off of weight-bearing joints and, combined with physical therapy, may relieve pain and increase mobility.
Adding time engaged in gentle activities like walking and swimming help joint functions, particularly for those with osteoarthritis. Slowly building supporting muscles helps to share the load on the joint itself.
A primary risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis, smoking increases inflammation in your body and it can affect efficient blood flow, an important part of your body’s healing mechanisms.
Watch your blood sugar
The relationship between arthritis and diabetes goes in both directions. Diabetics are more likely to develop arthritis, and those with arthritis are more likely to develop diabetes. Keeping blood sugar under control treats both cause and effect.
Enlisting a medical specialist to help customize an arthritis management plan is the best way to stay on top of your joint health. Make an appointment with Joint Regeneration of Lake Oconee by calling the office or requesting a booking online. Time is the enemy when fighting arthritis, so schedule your consultation today.