What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is the breakdown of tissue inside the joints. It can cause pain, inflammation, restricted movement of the area and an apparent weakness within the joints affected. Arthritis is very common in the UK, affecting around 10 million people of all ages.
There are two main types of Arthritis: Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. When it comes to older people, the most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis. This is caused by wear and tear; the older we are the more we have used our joints through our lifetimes. Around eight million people in the UK are affected by this type of arthritis.
Symptoms of arthritis include:
Joint pain, tenderness and stiffness.
Restricted movement of joints.
Inflammation in and around the joints.
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for the disease but there are treatments available such as painkillers and corticosteroids, which can help slow down the condition.
Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in a joint. In the UK, around 10 million people have arthritis. It affects people of all ages, including children.” – NHS Choices
Living with Arthritis
Arthritis can make a person’s life very difficult as they begin to struggle with everyday tasks such as writing or making a cup of coffee. Any form of movement can become a struggle and can put people with the condition in a lot of pain.
If you have arthritis in your knees it may become difficult for you to walk or even get up out of your chair. If your hands are affected you may be unable to pick up a pen and write or play any sports.
However, if you look after yourself and make subtle lifestyle changes you can manage your symptoms a little easier. One of the most important things that you need to do is to keep your joints moving and your muscles strong. However, you need to balance this out with rest, especially if your joints are inflamed.
You should try and ensure that you put your joints through a full range of motion at least once a day to help combat stiffness. You can help achieve this by taking part in physical activity, which is also a great way of keeping fit and healthy. Regular exercise provides a great way of reducing your chances of a serious medical condition.
Be aware of how much your joints can handle, and make sure that you reduce the stress on your joints whilst carrying out everyday tasks. You should always spread the weight of an object that you’re are carrying for example.
The NHS has some recommendations for the changes that you can make at home in order to protect yourself:
Keep important items in easy to reach places.
Use the handrail to help get up and down the stairs.
Use long-handled tools to picks things up or to clean
It is also very important to stick to a healthy diet if you have arthritis. Eating healthy foods will provide your body with all of the nutrients it needs, and for you to maintain a healthy weight. Your diet needs to include the following:
Meat, fish, eggs and beans.
Milk and dairy foods.
Starchy foods – bread rice, potatoes and pasta.
Fruit and vegetables.
Eating healthily and exercising can help you to lose weight if you are currently overweight. Losing weight can help you to live with your condition. Too much weight places extra pressure on your joints in the hips, knees, ankles and feet.