Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the protective covering that cushions the ends of your bones wears down over time. Although osteoarthritis can damage any joint, it most commonly affects joints in the hands, knees, hips and spine.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that worsens over time, often resulting in chronic pain. Joint pain and stiffness can become severe enough to make daily tasks difficult. Depression and sleep disturbances can result from the pain and disability of osteoarthritis.
There are some prescription medications that may alleviate some of the symptoms of arthritis, but people often report the side effects to be more than a little unpleasant.
Some of the common side effects of arthritis medications include:
- indigestion, 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.
A sedentary lifestyle has been linked to a variety of health conditions. For those with arthritis, a sedentary lifestyle makes joints less limber. While it may make the pain of arthritis feel better temporarily, it will do just the opposite in the long run. A healthier approach is to balance sitting with activities.
Arthritis friendly exercise
While it may seem counterintuitive, exercising can aid in managing arthritis. Some forms of fitness activities are better than others. Talk to your doctor about swimming in a heated pool, Tai Chi, walking, and Chair yoga. Each of these zero or low-impact exercises can help keep joints from becoming stiff.
Arthritis friendly diet
It is a well documented fact that food choices can impact inflammation throughout the body. Some help reduce it, while others increase it. Green tea, 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 inflammation. Fast food, sodas, sugary treats, and processed meats can all increase inflammation. So try to maintain an arthritis friendly diet to help manage the pain and progression of the disease.
Maintain a healthy weight
Losing weight helps your joints in two ways. Any weight you lose takes pressure off weight-bearing joints. Also, the healthy lifestyle usually associated with weight loss typically includes eating less inflammation-inducing foods which in turn reduces arthritic pain.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for osteoarthritis, but modifying your lifestyle to manage the pain and the side effects associated with common prescription drugs for osteoarthritis can help you live better.
I can imagine how challenging living with arthritis can be for some. At in4MED, we can make this stressful time easier by connecting you to local support systems and being there for you as your trusted health advocates. As always, feel free to connect with me or leave a comment.
Healthcare Consultant, in4MED
Arthritis Foundation - Osteoarthritis https://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/osteoarthritis/
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation https://whenithurtstomove.org/about-orthopaedics/conditions-and-ailments/arthritis/osteoarthritis/
The author of this blog post is a Physician with over 10 years of experience working in the healthcare system as a clinician, researcher and educator. She is passionate about healthcare for older adults and strives to be a resourceful inspiration to caregivers.
*No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional.