Is Arthritis Preventable in Seniors?

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Is Arthritis Preventable in Seniors? | Banner Image
Arthritis is a common health issue among the elderly, primarily caused by inflammation of joints. It is the leading cause of disability in the United States, preventing seniors from leading healthy lives. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDS) report, around 49.6% of people aged 65 or above are suffering from doctor-diagnosed arthritis in the US.
There are several factors that can cause arthritis in seniors. The most common risk factors are as follows:  
  • Extra pounds can put more strain on the joints. Therefore, putting the elderly at a higher risk for arthritis.
  • If there is an untreated injury, older adults are more likely to develop arthritis from it.
  • Arthritis can be hereditary and inherited if you have it in your family. A study shows that 40% and 65% of osteoarthritis have a genetic component.
  • Weak muscles can also put you at risk of developing arthritis if they are unable to support the joints.

Symptoms of Arthritis in the Elderly

Symptoms of Arthritis
Recognizing the symptoms is crucial to begin arthritis treatment for seniors as soon as possible. The most common type of arthritis among older adults is a degenerative joint condition known as osteoarthritis. There is also a type of autoimmune arthritis called rheumatoid arthritis, caused by the body’s immune system attacking the joints. The signs and symptoms of the different kinds of arthritis may vary. But there are some common symptoms that are prevalent among seniors suffering from arthritis which include the following:
  • Joint swelling or erythema
  • Joint pain and discomfort
  • Stiffness in the joint
  • Redness in the joint area
  • Difficulty in movement

Tips to Prevent & Manage Arthritis in Seniors

How to Manage Arthritis
Due to age-related degeneration of bones and joints, seniors are at a significantly higher risk of developing arthritis. Often, the pain and discomfort caused by arthritis can make it difficult for them to carry out basic daily activities. Therefore, it prevents them from leading a good quality of life. However, a few healthy habits and lifestyle changes can help seniors to manage the symptoms efficiently. Here are 6 ways to manage arthritis in seniors.

Follow a healthy diet

The primary cause of arthritis is joint inflammation. In addition, obesity also contributes to the development of arthritis. It is possible to reduce both risk factors by following a healthy diet. Maintain a healthy weight by incorporating more fiber, green veggies, and fruits into your diet. Switch to a well-balanced diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods such as oily salmon, olive oil, almonds, berries, etc. However, make sure to consult a nutritionist or dietitian to avoid additional health complications.

Never skip exercise

One of the most effective knee pain treatments is regular exercise. A successful fitness program consists of a combination of three types of exercise.
  • The muscles that support the joint can be strengthened by swimming, playing tennis or walking.
  • To relieve joint pain, try range-of-motion exercises like dancing and yoga.
  • Try aerobic exercises such as cycling and jogging to improve your heart rate. These exercises are also useful for weight management and enhance the overall functioning of the joints.

Keep your body hydrated

Around 70% to 80% of the cartilage in your joints is made of water. Hence, dehydration can aggravate arthritis and joint discomfort. Besides, water acts as a hydration agent to distribute essential nutrients such as potassium, sodium, bicarbonate, and chloride. Dehydration hinders the distribution of these nutrients in the body and prevents it from repairing itself naturally. Therefore, aggravating more to the pain caused by arthritis.

Wear proper footwear

The right pair of shoes can go a long way in managing arthritis in seniors. Your posture is affected if the shoes do not fit correctly or provide sufficient space for your toes. Therefore, wearing the wrong-size shoes can cause discomfort and damage the joint bones and muscles. Footwear needs to be wide enough to keep your foot, especially bunions or calluses areas safe from getting injured. Avoid heels and wear comfortable footwear instead.

Lose extra pounds

According to the (CDS), almost 23% of overweight and 31% of obese Americans have been diagnosed with arthritis. Multiple studies have shown that losing weight can reduce the strain on muscles and joints. Moreover, it is also possible to control overall inflammation by reducing the body’s fat stores. Therefore, losing weight can slow down the degeneration process and lower the risk of arthritis.

Get adequate rest

It is crucial to give your body enough time to heal by obtaining enough sleep and relaxation. When knee pain or joint pain is at its peak after engaging in any physical activity, adequate rest is the most effective medicine to reduce the discomfort. Do not exercise during these times, and drink plenty of fluids.

Treatments for Arthritis

Although there are a number of arthritis medications for the elderly, doctors and healthcare professionals primarily focus on non-pharmaceutical methods to manage the symptoms. Doctors may opt for surgical procedures as well if the patient’s condition worsens.

Medical Treatment

Some over the counter (OTC) medicines, namely acetaminophen, ibuprofen, etc. are often used to relieve the pain caused by arthritis. But if the degeneration of the cartilage is severe, a doctor may suggest surgery or other forms of treatment. Options can include joint repair surgery, joint fusion surgery, replacement arthroplasty, etc.

Alternative Remedies

Alternative treatments like acupuncture, physical therapy, hot and cold compress, and yoga are also useful in relieving the pain from arthritis amongst seniors. Acupuncture uses super-fine needles to lower levels of chemicals in your body linked to inflammation. On the other hand, hot and cold compression is efficient in curbing joint swelling, inflammation and relaxing muscles that support the joints.

The Bottom Line

Although arthritis is more likely to develop as you age, following a few healthy habits and making a few lifestyle changes can reduce its symptoms. These measures can also prevent it from worsening over time. However, there is no current cure for arthritis, and it is not entirely preventable. Thus, it is advisable to consult primary care physicians if seniors show any symptoms.
Is Arthritis Preventable in Seniors? | Infographic
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