Arthritis is a disease that concerns all of us. No matter the region, whether it’s the knees, back, hands or other joints arthritis can prove to be very painful and debilitating. Being diagnosed with arthritis can seem a very serious issue, but this doesn’t mean you need to restrain from all the active and fun activities. It is important to understand arthritis and how it works in order to maintain your joints healthy for a long period of time.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis by definition is the inflammation of the joints. There are different types of arthritis such as rheumatoid, psoriatic, gout, lupus and osteoarthritis. Based on the type of arthritis, the joint inflammation can be caused by your lifestyle, genetics, diet or even your own immune system.
Degenerative Joint Disease
The main focus of this article will be osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, which is one of the most common types of arthritis. This type of arthritis doesn’t affect just the elder population. It can also affect children and young adults.
The joints are covered with a specific cartilage called hyaline cartilage which is designed to minimize friction. The cartilage deteriorates over time exposing the bony surface below and there is no way of repairing it.
When the tissues become irritated by daily activities it causes swelling. Usually fluid gets caught in the joints creating pressure felt as deep aches and stiffness. The symptoms can generally be felt in the morning, after not moving for eight hours and in the evening due to the accumulated activity during the day.
You can manage arthritis internally via diet and externally with exercise and activity modification.
The idea with arthritis diets is to minimize the pro-inflammatory foods and maximize the anti-inflammatory ones.
The pro-inflammatory foods are high in sugar, trans fats and gluten. The foods with anti-inflammatory properties are high in omega-3 fats, antioxidants and anthocyanins. Some of these foods include fish, whole grains, dark leafy greens and vegetables. Turmeric, ginger root and tart cherry juice are also great for managing arthritis because they contain antioxidants.
You should consult with a nutritionist before shifting your diet to learn more about a balanced diet. Also, talk to your doctor for further information and advice.
When it comes to external treatment it is important to minimize the physical stress and strain on the joints. The best way to do this is by modifying your activity in order to gain health benefits.
You should start by doing activities with lower impact such as aqua aerobics, walking, swimming and cycling. Depending on how the body reacts you can still do high-impact sports such as skiing and snowboarding but at a lower intensity or frequency.
You can also reduce joint stress by improving the balanced strength of the muscles around the joints. Mobility is an important aspect. The more mobility you have, the more force can be distributed throughout the joints.