Definition of Arthritis
Arthritis is an umbrella term for over 100 different degenerative conditions affecting the body. Some common symptoms of arthritis include but are not limited to joint stiffness, joint pain, swelling, and a reduced range of motion. In addition to debilitating symptoms of the condition, arthritis is one of the most prevalent and debilitating conditions in the U.S.
Over 50 million Americans are diagnosed with arthritis and this number is expected to grow by the year 2030. With the “Baby Boomer” generation quickly aging, it is important to understand what risk factors are associated with arthritis. In an effort to help reduce the risk of being diagnosed with arthritis, one ought to understand what correlates with the condition.
Risk Factors Associated with Arthritis
Two of the most common forms of arthritis include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis involves the breakdown of cartilage, muscle, and connective around a particular joint and can often be painful. Some risk factors associated with osteoarthritis includes but is not limited to obesity, excessive trauma to the joint, ethnicity, and genetics.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition in which the body’s immune system attacks synovial fluid around joints. This often causes the bone on bone rubbing and is often described as the most painful arthritis condition. Risk factors for rheumatoid include but are not limited to gender, ethnicity, poor diet, obesity, smoking, and genetics.
Lifestyle for Arthritis
Small changes to one’s lifestyle can have major dividends to the management of arthritis. One such change is a physically active lifestyle. A lifestyle that is high in physical activity is one of the most important management options for arthritis and prior myths often included this exact opposite.
One prior myth was that when an individual has arthritis, physical activity takes a backseat. Research has now demonstrated that this is far from the truth and a sedentary lifestyle can be damaging to the joints.
In addition to leading a physically active lifestyle, more activity and a proper diet will be conducive for maintaining body weight. Reducing body weight when an individual will help reduce arthritis risk in any age and can help anyone lead a more independent lifestyle. Aim to exercise at least 30 minutes per day for five days per week at a moderate intensity. For most individuals, a brisk walk should suffice for moderate intensity.