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Osteoarthritis! All You Need To Know

All You Need to Know about Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and affects around 27 million Americans each year. It is expected that the numbers would rise to around 70 million by 2030. Osteoarthritis is the leading cause of disability in seniors. It is caused due to the breakdown of cartilage that surrounds and cushions the body’s joints. If there isn’t enough cartilage, bones start to rub together which leads to stiffness and pain. It most commonly affects hands, hips and knees. With time, osteoarthritis can lead to damage to the muscles and ligaments.

Although joint replacement surgeries are an option to treat the condition, doctors insist that prevention is a more viable solution to manage the symptoms for as long as possible.  There is no complete cure for osteoarthritis, but many developments have been made in recent times to detect the condition early on and to slow the progress.

What You Shouldn’t Do

If you are a caretaker of a senior or if any of your loved ones is suffering from the condition then be sure to steer clear of a few ineffective strategies and home remedies that would only worsen the condition. An in-depth analysis issued by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), certain ‘remedies’ like taking supplements of chondroitin and glucosamine. According to the AAOS, these supplements are simply placebos and are not effective.

How to Prevent Osteoarthritis

Age is the major risk factor that develops osteoarthritis, but other factors like gender and heredity also play a role in developing osteoarthritis. Following are a few methods for slowing or preventing the developing of this painful condition:

  • A study by King’s College London found that diallyl sulphides that are found in leeks, garlic and onions inhibit the enzymes that cause degeneration of joints. So try to incorporate these vegetables in your diet.
  • Staying active is one of the most effective and easiest ways for preventing and controlling the condition. Strength training in particular helps increase bone and muscle health.
  • Non-citrus fruits like plums, apples, peaches and berries are all laden with antioxidants and greatly help in preventing the development of osteoarthritis.

How to Keep Pain under Control

Osteoarthritis can be very painful. If you are a caregiver with an elder in in-home care then there are a number of ways you can control the condition.

  • Lose weight. Being overweight will put undue strain on your joints, especially knees, hips, ankles, feet and spine. Losing a little weight would ease the symptoms. However, be sure to eat a healthy balanced diet. Include fruits, whole grains, vegetables and low-fat dairy into your diet. Healthy fats like nuts and avocadoes will also ease the pain.
  • Use pillows to take the pressure off the painful joints. Sleeping at the same time every night and getting ample sleep would also help.

Living with osteoarthritis isn’t easy. It is not just painful but can limit your mobility with time too. Be sure to get help from a loved one or in-house care if you are suffering from the condition.

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