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Arthritis and What It Means for Aging Adults

 

It is a surprising fact that arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the aging adult community. When you add in the rising obesity epidemic and the lack of proper nutrition it’s no wonder that Americans’ bones and joints are crying out for relief. This typically comes out in the form of pain and/or the limited mobility of key areas of the body including the wrists, knees, and hips. Here are a few ways arthritis affects the body and how to take preventative measures now.

 

1.) Joints. Knuckles, wrists, hips, ankles, and knees may become inflamed, swollen, and painful. This happens because the body’s immune system starts to mistakenly attack the joints as it would a virus or bacteria. Once this process starts it is impossible to cure, but can be managed through medication, lifestyle changes, and diet. Because of this early diagnosis and treatment is the key to pain management. Some foods that can help ease the symptoms of arthritis are fish, soybeans, healthy oils (avocado, olive), foods rich in calcium, and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. 

 

2.) Eyes, Mouth, and Lungs. It may be surprising that a disease typically associated with joint pain can affect other areas of the body, and that is why it is classified as a systemic disease. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause inflammation in the whites of the eyes, and the symptoms include redness, dryness, and blurred vision. It can also make the mouth dry and cause gum irritation, and cause shortness of breath due to inflammation and scarring of the lungs. 

 

 

 

3.) Blood Vessels and the Heart.  Inflammation that goes unchecked and untreated can lead to excess plaque build up in the arteries and around the heart, a reduction in red blood cell counts, higher risk of blood clots, and through all of this increases the likelihood of a heart attack and stroke. Rarely do people think that such serious side affects could come from a joint disease, which is why early diagnosis is so important. 

 

When experiencing the pain and stiffness that comes from arthritis, exercising seems counterintuitive. However, activities like walking, swimming, light weightlifting, and movements that focus on flexibility are a key part of treatment. A physical therapist or doctor can tailor a specific exercise regimen for each person’s specific case. Remember that preventative care is always the first defense for any disease or illness. 

 

 

These statements have not been evaluated by a medical professional. For questions regarding your health or the health of a loved one, always consult your doctor.