World Arthritis Day (Wednesday, Oct. 12): This annual celebration is dedicated to raising awareness about rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs).
RMDs are classified into two categories: inflammatory and non-inflammatory. Common non-inflammatory RMDs include osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and fibromyalgia, while common inflammatory RMDs include rheumatoid arthritis, reactive arthritis, and more.
RMDs can affect men and women of all ages, including children and babies. Symptoms differ with each RMD, however more common symptoms include:
- Joint swelling and/or stiffness
- Persistent muscle and joint pain
- Fatigue and lack of energy
- Depression and anxiety
There are a handful of treatment options used to combat the symptoms of RMDs, including medication, which can help to reduce pain in patients. Physiotherapy, which helps to restore movement and function in patients, is a common treatment method used to treat RMDs.
People suffering from arthritis and RMDs often see a decrease in their quality of life. They are unable to enjoy the same activities they once enjoyed and often have difficulty carrying out everyday functions they once used to do with ease. However, there are plenty of things people can do to prevent this from happening. Here are five ways to reduce the risk of arthritis:
World Arthritis Day- Arthritis Prevention Tip #1: Control Your Weight
Being overweight or obese can put a great deal of stress on you knees. In fact, just 10 pounds of extra weight adds 30 to 60 pounds of force on your knees. Diet and exercise are great options to help manage your weight. However, be sure to talk to your doctor before engaging in physically rigorous activity and making drastic changes to your diet.
World Arthritis Day- Arthritis Prevention Tip #2: Eat Seafood
Fish is a great alternative to red meat and other heart clogging foods. Certain fish, such as salmon, trout, and sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation throughout the body. Additionally, a study published by the Annals of the Rheumatic found that women who eat fish regularly are at a lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
World Arthritis Day- Arthritis Prevention Tip #3: Celebrate with a Drink
Although it is not proven to prevent arthritis altogether, alcohol may help to lower the risk of rheumatoid arthritis in women. Remember, this is not an excuse to start drinking in excess, as professionals recommend just one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men. Talk to your doctor before adding alcohol to your diet.
World Arthritis Day- Arthritis Prevention Tip #4: Exercise
Exercise helps strengthen the muscles around your joints, which helps reduce the stress of excess weight on your joints. Be sure to stretch before each exercise, as this can significantly reduce the risk of strain and/or injury.
World Arthritis Day- Arthritis Prevention Tip #5: Avoid Injury
As we get older, our joints start to lose strength. While this much is inevitable, it is important to protect your joints when engaging in physically demanding activities such as exercise and sport. Be sure to learn proper exercise techniques and wear safety gear when playing sports to avoid injury.