May allows the team at Assistance in Home Care to highlight one of the most wide-spread health conditions in the United States. Arthritis affects over 58 million men and women overall, about one in four adults on average. 1 The swelling and tenderness of one’s joint caused by arthritis is the most known affect of the disease. The main symptoms of ar-thritis are joint pain and stiffness, which worsens with age. 2 Assistance in Home Care would like to take this opportunity to spread awareness of the risks of arthritis and what you and your loved one can do to minimize the affects of the disease.

General Risk Factors for Arthritis

It’s important to understand that when it comes to risk factors, there are factors that you can and can not control. Your best chances of decreasing your risk of arthritis is by changing the risk factors that you can control. 1 Risk factors within your control include:

  • Overweight and Obesity: Those who are overweight or obese are more likely to get knee osteoarthritis than people who are not. Extra weight also puts more stress on the joints, such as the hips and knees. Maintain a healthy weight through healthy eating and daily physical activity.
  • Infection: Bacteria and viruses can infect joints and potentially cause some types of arthritis to form. Contact your doctor right away if your joints get swollen, warm, or red.
  • Joint Injuries: Joint injuries or overuse such as knee bending can damage a joint causing the development of osteoarthritis in that joint. Protect your joints by stretching or exercising that target weaker joints.
    Knowing what factors are controllable can be the first steps towards a lower risk of arthritis. However, there are other factors that are beyond your control such as:1
  • Age: Many types of arthritis- osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout- in-crease in risk with age.
  • Gender: Women are more likely than men to develop rheumatoid arthritis, while most people who have gout are men.
  • Genetics and Inherited Traits: Some types of arthritis run in families; you may be more likely to develop arthritis if your family has a history of the disease.

Daily Life with Arthritis

Managing arthritis begins with the daily habits you choose to manage in order to stay healthy. The CDC Arthritis Program has developed five self-management strategies for managing arthritis and its symptoms for those of all ages.

  1. Learn New Self-Management Skills: Learning strategies that could help bet-ter manage your arthritis can give you more control over your health. The CDC has a list of CDC-recognized self-management education programs at the link below.
  2. Be Active: Daily physical activity can reduce pain, improve function, mood, and quality of life for older adults with arthritis.
  3. Talk to Your Doctor: Talk to your doctor if you or a loved one notice joint pain and other arthritis symptoms. Getting an accurate diagnosis makes it so you or a loved one get the treatment you need.
  4. Manage Your Weight: We’ve touched this before, but low-impact physical ac-tivity and dietary changes can help manage your weight!
  5. Protect Your Joints: As one gets older, you must become more mindful of the stress you put onto your joints as joint injuries may worsen with arthritis. Low-intensity activities such as walking, bicycling, and swimming are easy on the joints as well have a low risk of injury.

Treating arthritis should be focused on controlling pain, minimizing joint damage, and improving physical function and your quality of life. The caregivers at Assistance in Home Care excel in chronic care with individuals living with conditions such as arthritis. If you or a loved one need assistance in adjusting to daily life with arthritis or another chronic condition, our office is a call away. The adjustment from a life without arthritis to a lifestyle with the disease can be overwhelming and challenging for you and your loved ones. It’s our job at Assistance in Home Care to ensure any major lifestyle transition is as seamless as possible.

Resources

  1. CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/communications/features/arthritis-aware-ness.html
  2. Arthritis Foundation: http://blog.arthritis.org/news/arthritis-awareness-month/
  3. Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/arthritis/symp-toms-causes/syc-20350772
  4. Arthritis Society: https://arthritis.ca/about-arthritis/arthritis-risk-factors