Spring is setting in after a much longer than usual winter. While most people take advantage of the nicer weather to get outside and be active, some experience lingering, unexplained pain. It is easy for anyone to think pain is due to the aging process, but sometimes it can be attributed to arthritis. May is National Arthritis Awareness Month, so we want to take this opportunity to talk a little more about how to protect your joints.
Though we’ve probably all heard of arthritis, many don’t know exactly what it is. Arthritis is not a single disease, but instead refers to joint pain or disease. In fact, there are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions.
Arthritis can cause stiffness, swelling and severe joint pain, and lead to a loss of motion and mobility. Many people also don’t realize just how many Americans live with arthritis. It’s a condition that affects about one in four adults overall, and is the nation’s No. 1 cause of disability. That’s equates to over 54 million men and women.
Though you can’t always prevent arthritis, there are some things you can do to reduce the risk of getting painful joints as you age.
- Exercise and keep a healthy weight – Obesity causes unnecessary stress on joints. You should stay active and make sure you are taking care of your body. According to the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center, being just 10 pounds overweight means the force on your knees increases by 30 to 60 pounds when walking.
- Eat fish – Fish can be rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s have a number of health benefits, including reducing inflammation in the body.
- Be mindful of your joints – Work to protect your joints from injury. Lift with your knees and hips when picking up objects; don’t use your back. If you sit for long periods at work or home, make sure that your back, legs and arms are well-supported.
- See your doctor – As with most diseases and conditions, identifying them early on can be key to getting treatment that can slow the progress of arthritis and preserve mobility.
At ISL communities, we make sure all of our residents are staying active, eating high-quality food, and living fulfilling lives that promote mental and physical health.