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Healthy Tips for Living with Osteoarthritis

Sadly, over 20 million Americans suffer from osteoarthritis. This degenerative arthritic joint disease brings pain, inflammation, and loss of cartilage in the joints. It’s a frequent cause of disability among seniors.

If you suffer from osteoarthritis, what can help you manage it so that you can live a healthy life?

Get Moving

Many osteoarthritis sufferers avoid exercise. There is a common misconception that exercise will “wear down” your joints. Research shows that 40% of women and 56% of men with osteoarthritis exercise less than 10 minutes a week! This inactive lifestyle leads to osteoarthritis worsening in patients. Exercise is crucial to the well-being of anyone suffering from osteoarthritis, so get moving!

While mild or moderate exercise may be helpful, avoid intense activities that injure or strain the joint cartilage. Exercise is beneficial as long as it is performed at a level that does not stress the joints. Physical activity helps maintain joint mobility. Frequently recommended activities are light weight training, swimming or bicycle riding — all of which put little stress on the body’s joints.

Watch Your Diet & Your Weight

Diet is important to osteoarthritis patients for several reasons. Even small dietary changes may reduce pain associated with osteoarthritis.

  1. Weight loss Controlling your weight takes extra stress off of our bones, which can help reduce pain. Sufficiently exercising will also reduce your risk of developing osteoarthritis in the first place. Arthritis is twice as high in obese people as in those with normal weight, since the extra weight puts pressure on your joints. Moreover, studies show that people who continue to eat processed foods, fried foods, sugar and red meat are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis over people eating a diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, and white meats.
  2. Controlling inflammation Controlling your diet can help to control general inflammation in the body. Certain foods have been shown to increase inflammation in the body.
  3. Keep bones and cartilage strong Eating a well-balanced diet helps to keep your bones and cartilage strong. Studies show that foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and the spices ginger and turmeric may help reduce inflammation. Foods rich in antioxidants, plentifully found in most vegetables and fruit, may help reduce tissue damage from inflammation.

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