SF: Understanding Arthritis

Welcome to our first weekly Senior Fitness *SF* article. We are happy you are reading this as it is our sincere hope to publish useful and informative articles each week. Senior Fitness articles will be prefaced with SF: and we’ll publish articles and printable exercises in a 15pt font. If you would like a different font size, please don’t hesitate to ask. Additionally, we value your opinion and your feedback is important to us, so please be sure to let us know what you think!


Over 50 Million

“Over 50 million Americans have arthritis, making it the number one cause of disability in the country. That means 1 in every 5 adults, 300,000 children and countless families. … The first steps in conquering arthritis are learning the facts, understanding your condition and knowing that help is by your side.”

Source: Arthritis.Org

We hope you find this information helps you locate resources to help you *or a loved one. This information is intended to help you formulate questions to ask your doctor and is NOT medical advice. Your Doctor is your best source of information and guidance, and should be your first course of action. 


Arthritis?! Now What?

Recently diagnosed with arthritis in the hip (Osteoarthritis or OA), my doctor provided two pages of information about hip and/or knee arthritis but I wanted to learn more. Yes, it’s a common term I’d heard all my life, but I never KNEW anything about it – other than it hurts. So, after a few days of this diagnosis sinking in, I began to think of lots of questions so I’ve been trying to learn more about this condition – what it is and what it is not. My next appointment is in 3 months so hope to get all my questions formulated by then.

Researching the topic of Arthritis has been interesting and informative! I haven’t found the exercises (I’m still researching for specifics) but instead found a lot of useful information – but I’m interested in exercises for OA of the Hip so that’s going to take a little longer, but I did find some generally useful guidelines for anyone with arthritis that I wanted to share with you:

Nutrition Label

  • Avoid foods that may cause inflammation – sugar, MSG, saturated fats, trans fats, refined carbs, gluten and casein, aspartame, alcohol, Omega 6 Fatty Acids  (check labels)
  • Best foods to eat – fish, soy, extra virgin olive oil, cherries, low fat dairy products, broccoli, green tea, citrus, whole grains, beans, garlic, nuts
  • Avoid putting too much pressure on the joints (avoid jolting the joint by jumping) – excess weight puts pressure on your joints
  • Weather has  it’s affects (see below)
  • Exercise – strengthen your muscles to support your joints
  • Weight loss and exercise are recommended for osteoarthritis

Types of Arthritis

It’s common for people to think that arthritis is a condition that only affects seniors, but that is far from reality. Certain types of arthritis does affect seniors more than others, but it is by no means a disease that targets people of a certain age.

Group of People

There are more than 100 different forms of arthritis. Arthritis may arise from aging, damage to the articular cartilage, autoimmune diseases, bacterial or viral infections, or unknown (probably genetic) causes.

Source: openstax CNX cnx.org 

Here are some examples of the different types of arthritis. You can find the full list on the Arthritis Foundation website – they are also a great source of information for you.

Bursitis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Gout, Lupus,  Osteoarthritis, Osteoporosis, Pediatric Rheumatic Diseases, Rheumatic Fever, Spinal Stenosis and Tendonitis, to name just a few.

Exercise is key to maintaining good quality of life so be sure to check this valuable resource for understanding exercise limitations for your specific type of Arthritis *(or someone you love): Arthritis.org/…/Your-Exercise-Solution/

About Arthritis

Arthritis is a general term for conditions that affect the joints and surrounding tissues. Joints are places in the body where bones come together, such as the knees, wristsfingers, toes, and hips. The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a painful, degenerative joint disease that often involves the hips, knees, neck, lower back, or small joints of the hands. OA usually develops in joints that are injured by repeated overuse from performing a particular task or playing a favorite sport or from carrying around excess body weight.

Eventually this injury or repeated impact thins or wears away the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones in the joint. As a result, the bones rub together, causing a grating sensation. Joint flexibility is reduced, bony spurs develop, and the joint swells. Usually, the first symptom of OA is pain that worsens following exercise or immobility.

Treatment usually includes analgesics, topical creams, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (known as NSAIDs); appropriate exercises or physical therapy;  joint splinting; or joint replacement surgery for seriously damaged larger joints, such as the knee or hip.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune inflammatory disease that usually involves various joints in the fingers, thumbs, wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees, feet, and ankles. An autoimmune disease is one in which the body releases enzymes that attack its own healthy tissues. In RA, these enzymes destroy the linings of joints. This causes pain, swelling, stiffness, malformation, and reduced movement and function.

People with RA also may have systemic symptoms, such as fatiguefever, weight loss, eyeinflammationanemiasubcutaneousnodules (bumps under the skin), or pleurisy (a lung inflammation).

Although osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are two very different medical conditions with little in common, the similarity of their names causes great confusion. These conditions develop differently, have different symptoms, are diagnosed differently, and are treated differently. NIH – National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

Weather & Arthritis

People with arthritis often claim they can predict the weather, based on their joint pain level, and with good reason. Studies show a change in weather can increase pain so watch for any changes in

  • Barometric pressure (especially falling)
  • Temperature (especially lowering)

Visit the Arthritis Foundation, enter your zip code and see the Current Arthritis Index for your location.

 

Exercise Helps Decrease Pain and Increase Function For People With Hip Arthritis

 

Terms to Know

Cartilage
A tough, flexible tissue that lines joints and gives structure to the nose, ears, larynx, and other parts of the body.
Joints
In medicine, the place where two or more bones are connected. Examples include the shoulder, elbow, knee, and jaw.
Rheumatologist
Doctors who diagnose and treat diseases of the bones, joints, muscles, and tendons, including arthritis and collagen diseases.
Synovial Fluid
The slippery fluid produced by the synovium (joint lining) to lubricate the joints.

Recommended 

Living with Arthritis – Tools & Resources

Visit our Sources:  PubMed Health, Arthritis Foundation

Additional Resources (tap to see book excerpt)

Books on Arthritis
Arthritis (general) Rheumatoid Arthritis
Lupus Fibromyalgia
Gout Osteoporosis
Osteoarthritis Tendonitis

 

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to visit us. As always, we are wishing you the best of health!

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Author: Joan E Wilder

We focus on providing information about the importance of physical activity to our quality of life. It is our hope to help people invest in themselves by staying active throughout their lives. It's that important.

2 thoughts

    1. Why thank you for your support – if there are any topics you’d like to see covered or any exercises you’d like to see in printable format, please let us know! Thanks again!

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