Arthritis is more than just a minor health issue. For the more than 50 million people who live with it, the disease can be painful and even debilitating. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Management says that the pain and symptoms associated with osteoarthritis limits one in twenty adults ability to work for pay.
There are some prescription medications that may alleviate some of the symptoms of arthritis, but sufferers often report the side effects to be more than a little unpleasant. The Arthritis Foundation reports a few of the common side effects of arthritis medications include:
- Upset stomach
- Stomach ulcers
- Bone loss
- Increased appetite
- Elevated blood sugars
While there currently isn’t a cure for osteoarthritis, experts say there are steps you can take to live well despite the disease.
Managing Osteoarthritis with a Healthy Lifestyle
1. Lose weight: Maintaining a healthy weight can aid in reducing the pain of arthritis. Harvard researchers say losing weight helps your joints in two ways. First, every pound of weight you lose takes four pounds of pressure off weight-bearing joints. Even something as small as a ten-pound weight loss can translate to 40 pounds less pressure on your knees. Secondly, the healthy lifestyle usually associated with weight loss typically includes eating less inflammation-inducing foods. Inflammation in joints increases arthritis pain.
2. Avoid sedentary days: Too much sitting has been linked to a variety of health conditions. In fact, research shows it may be almost as dangerous as smoking! For those with arthritis, a sedentary lifestyle makes joints less limber. While it may make the pain of arthritis feel better in the short term, it will do just the opposite over the long run. A healthier approach for keeping inflammation in check is to balance sitting with activity.
3. Joint-friendly exercise: While it may seem counterintuitive, exercising can aid in managing arthritis. Some forms of fitness activities are better than others. Talk with your primary care physician or rheumatologist about swimming in a heated pool, Tai Chi, walking, and Chair yoga. Each of these no or low-impact exercises can help keep joints from becoming stiff.
4. Manage your diet: Food choices can impact inflammation throughout the body. Some help reduce it, while others can cause it to increase. Oranges, cherries, tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, cabbage, kale, spinach, and plums, as well as omega-3 rich foods such as fatty fish and nuts, decrease swelling. By contrast, fast foods, sodas, sugary treats, and processed meats can all increase inflammation.
5. Drink green tea: While the verdict on coffee and inflammation isn’t clear, one beverage that has inflammation-fighting powers is green tea. Researchers say it contains EGCG, a substance that may slow or halt the progression of arthritis.
Live Well at Sunrise Senior Living
From our healthy and delicious meal options to our Live With Purpose programming, living well is easier at Sunrise Senior Living. We invite you to join us for a private tour and a complimentary meal at a Sunrise community near you. Call 888-434-4648 to set up a time!