Arthritis affects 54 million adults in the United States.
That number is expected to grow to 78 million over the next 20 years as the US population ages.
Arthritis can’t be cured, but the risk for the disease can be reduced. That’s important information to have as the more people are expected to be diagnosed with various types of arthritis in the coming years.
Arthritis is actually an umbrella term for a group of more than 100 joint diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, and fibromyalgia.
Collectively, these diseases are the leading cause of disability in adults in the U.S. and affect more women than men.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), of adults with doctor-diagnosed arthritis, nearly a quarter (23.5%) were women and 18.1 percent were men.
As arthritis rates rise, it’s projected that two-thirds of those with the disease will be women.
There are many factors that contribute to arthritis. Some, like genetics, gender and age can’t be controlled. Others, can be controlled and can help to reduce the risk of arthritis. They include:
- Overweight and obesity: Maintaining a healthy weight can help to avoid knee osteoarthritis, the most common type of the disease experienced by those who are overweight and obese
- Infection: Some bacteria and viruses can affect the joints and increase the chance of developing arthritis. Seeking a doctor’s care immediately when joints are swollen, red, or warm can help to treat infection as soon as possible.
- Occupational hazards: Certain occupations that require repetitive bending and squatting can increase the risk of osteoarthritis. Make sure your workplace is ergonomically correct. The National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety can help.
- Stay healthy to avoid the risk of chronic disease: Arthritis is much more common in people who have other chronic conditions:
- 49 percent of adults with heart disease have arthritis
- 47 percent of adults with diabetes have arthritis
- 31 percent of adults who are obese have arthritis
Another way to help reduce the risk of arthritis is to stay active.
If your joints are healthy now, keeping them strong can help to delay the onset of some types of arthritis.
If you have been diagnosed with arthritis, staying active can help delay progression of the disease.
The more you maintain mobility and function in the joints, the more you may be able to avoid the pain of the disease.
Here are three ways to stay active if you have been diagnosed with arthritis:
- Stay active by playing tabletop games like ping pong, pool (billiards), or foosball. You will move around, but will not have to run and jump and put extreme pressure on your joints.
- Walk and play outside. Playing outdoors isn’t just for children. Taking a walk, tossing a ball, raking leaves, flying a kite, taking the dog for a walk and other similar activities will help you to keep moving and keep your joints mobile. Remember, most any movement you can do that does not cause pain is good movement.
- Cook with your family. Cooking has several benefits for those diagnosed with arthritis. First, cooking healthy food can help you maintain a healthy weight. Keeping as much weight as possible off the joints helps them to stay healthier and can reduce aches and pains caused by arthritis. Secondly, cooking at home is good exercise as you move your joints to cook food and wash dishes.
Arthritis is a painful disease. It can easily limit movement and cause aches, pains and joint stiffness.
Staying physically active can help to ward off these symptoms, keep the joints mobile and well lubricated, and help to reduce your risk of arthritis.
If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation. Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.
Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care, Bed & Wheelchair Transfer Assistance, Companionship, Housekeeping & Meal Preparation, Personal Care, Recovery Care, and Transportation.