There are over 150 arthritic conditions, mainly affecting weight-bearing joints like the hips, knees and spine. The most common form is osteoarthritis –
- It mostly affects older people, due to long-term stress on joints that wears out cartilage
- As lubrication and shock absorption is reduced, joints swell up, soften and develop cracks. Bone overgrows at edge of the joint, creating uneven bumps.
- The smooth, slippery surface of the joint becomes rough and pitted, causing pain and a lack of mobility.
- People who put constant stress on specific joints, such as repetitively bending knees are most at risk.
- Carrying extra weight also increases the likelihood of osteoarthritis in knees – particularly in women.
Symptoms of Arthritis
- Joint stiffness
- Swollen and enlarged joints
- Painful joints (such as the knee, hip, fingers and back)
- Limited joint movement
- Unstable joints
How to manage Arthritis
Minimising activities that put repetitive movement or impact on your joints can reduce the risk of osteoarthritis in later years.
Keeping your weight in check will make you less likely to put unnecessary strain on your load-bearing joints.
The impact of arthritis on your body may be reduced by the assistance of eating a healthy balanced diet. Mainly fresh, unprocessed whole foods are recommended – with an emphasis on omega-3 oils and fibre and a reduction in refined carbohydrates or simple sugars.
Gentle, low impact exercise like Tai Chi or warm water (hydrotherapy) exercise may be beneficial to people with arthritis. Improved muscle strength can take the strain off joints and relieve the symptoms.
Recent studies have found that losing even a moderate amount of weight can significantly improve quality of life for many arthritis sufferers.