Arthritis can vary hugely from person to person, adding its own personal challenges.
This guide provides practical advice on how to prevent and manage arthritis. It offers science-backed tips on diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes that can greatly improve your joint health. Take control of your arthritis and discover effective ways to live with it.
What is Arthritis?
In the UK, more than 10 million people experience arthritis, which is typically characterized by pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints caused by inflammation. This inflammation can occur in various parts of the body and for different reasons, distinguishing one type of arthritis from another.
The most prevalent form is osteoarthritis, also known as "wear and tear" arthritis, which occurs when the cartilage on the ends of bones deteriorates due to injury or repetitive use.
The second most common type is rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune condition where the body mistakenly attacks its own tissues. It can affect any joint and other organs in the body, but it is frequently observed in the wrists and fingers.
Can Arthritis be Prevented?
While some risk factors for arthritis are beyond our control, such as certain genes we inherit, there are others that we can influence.
These risk factors, like smoking, can be changed by altering our behaviour, which can lower our risk of developing arthritis. Factors such as weight, diet, exercise, posture, and dental hygiene also fall into this category.
By establishing healthy habits in these areas, we can reduce our chances of developing arthritis and improve our joint health overall, protecting our bones as we age.
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for arthritis. However, for those living with this condition, the focus is on managing symptoms as effectively as possible.
In addition to using over-the-counter and prescription medications, individuals can also find relief by reducing stress, engaging in regular physical activity, and exploring alternative therapies such as yoga or massage.
These approaches can greatly alleviate arthritis pain and stiffness for certain individuals.
Arthritis and Exercise
Even though arthritis can seem unappealing due to the discomfort it can bring, incorporating a consistent workout routine can actually alleviate pain over time, enhance joint mobility, and enhance the overall well-being of individuals with arthritis.
If you're a beginner it's important to take it easy, and if available use guided exercise and mobility and expect some muscle soreness, but this is normal.
Don't let the short-term soreness discourage you. Discover an activity that brings you genuine pleasure and make it a habit, even if it's only for a short duration each day. Some movement is better than no movement, even if you start really small and progress a little over time, it all adds up.
How to Eat to Relieve Symptoms
Changing their diet can provide relief from symptoms for individuals with arthritis. This is because arthritis is caused by inflammation, and certain foods have the ability to reduce this inflammation in the body.
The Mediterranean diet is frequently recommended for arthritis as it emphasizes anti-inflammatory foods like fruits, vegetables, and fatty fish such as salmon. This diet is also associated with various other advantages, such as improved weight management and heart health.