How to manage arthritis

How to manage arthritis

Arthritis is a disease that affects  one in  four Americans, more than 50 million people and is the No. 1 cause of disability in the country. As the population ages that number is expected to grow to 67 million by 2030.

Arthritis describes more than 100 conditions that affect the joints or tissues around the joint. The most common form of arthritis in the U.S. is osteoarthritis, which causes pain, swelling and reduced motion in your joints. Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint, but usually, affects your hands, knees, hips or spine.

Most types of arthritis cause pain and stiffness in and around the affected joint or joints. Some types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), also affect the immune system and some internal organs of the body. Other types of arthritis include gout and fibromyalgia.

The focus of arthritis treatment is to control pain, minimize joint damage, and improve or maintain physical function and quality of life. Treatment can include medications, nondrug therapies such as physical therapy or patient education and sometimes surgery.

Health experts report that walking has been shown to improve arthritis pain and can help those suffering chronic pain become physically active.

According to the CDC, adults with arthritis can decrease pain and improve function by about 40 percent by being physically active.

However, many with arthritis fear physical activity will worsen their pain. To help those with arthritis understand the necessary skills to safely and comfortably engage in physical activity, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a suite of arthritis-appropriate evidence-based physical activity and self-management education programs.

The CDC recommends joint-friendly physical activities that are low-impact, which means they put less stress on the body, reducing the risk of injury. Examples of joint-friendly activities include walking, biking and swimming. Being physically active can also delay the onset of arthritis-related disability and help people with arthritis manage other chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

All adults, including adults with arthritis, should get 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) per week and do muscle-strengthening activities two or more days a week. If you take brisk walks for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, you will meet the aerobic activity recommendations from the

In managing arthritis, the CDC recommends learning self-management skills, being active, maintaining a healthy weight, protecting your joint and discussing options with your doctor.

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