Arthritis Awareness Week: Living with Arthritis
Arthritis affects around 10 million people in the UK. The two most common types are osteoarthritis - which accounts for 80% of those living with the condition - and rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis can affect anyone regardless of age or gender.
Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones wears down over time whereas rheumatoid arthritis is a result of the immune system attacks the tissues of the body.
While living with arthritis has been attributed to limiting mobility, there are steps you can take to ease the symptoms, which commonly include joint pain, tenderness, muscle wasting and restricted movement.
The link between your diet and arthritis is your overall body weight. Being overweight puts extra strain on weight-bearing joints like your back, knees, hips, feet and ankles. Because of the way joints work, the pressure in your knee is five to six times your body weight when you walk. Therefore even a small weight loss can make a big difference if you suffer with arthritis.
If you have any type of arthritis you should try to eat:
- a balanced and varied diet to get all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients you need
- a more Mediterranean-style diet which includes fish, pulses, nuts, olive oil and plenty of fruit and vegetables
- more omega-3 fatty acids, for example from oily fish.
Evidence shows that losing weight can reduce inflammation in any kind of arthritis. Examples of low-impact aerobic exercises that are easier on your joints include walking, bicycling, swimming and using an elliptical machine. The Arthritis Foundation state on their website that exercise 'May delay or prevent surgery".
When the simplest of daily activities, like turning a key in a door or opening a letter, are painful, occupational therapists are on hand to help. An occupational therapist is a specialist who helps people with arthritis maximize their ability to participate in activities safely and enhance their quality of life. For instance, a therapist will create a tailored plan designed to increase motion, flexibility and strength.
Do you have any tips on how to ease the symptoms of arthritis? Let us know. Tweet us @NewcrossHealth
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