Healthy Lifestyle Approach to Arthritis
Maintenance of a healthy lifestyle requires that you develop an ability to make adjustments whenever necessary. The discovery that you have arthritis is an occurrence in which adjustments may need to be made. As with any adjustment, investigation of the cause of this painfully stiff disease is an ideal first step.
Awareness, early diagnosis, and an aggressive treatment plan play key roles to stopping arthritis from taking over your life.
Arthritis literally means joint inflammation. There are more than 100 rheumatic diseases and conditions that can cause pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints. If left undiagnosed and untreated, arthritis can cause irreversible damage to the joints.
The two most common forms of the arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid.
Osteoarthritis results from the wear and tear of life. The pressure of gravity causes physical damage to the joints and surrounding tissues, leading to pain, tenderness, swelling, and decreased function.
Its onset is usually subtle and gradual, involving one or only a few joints. The joints most often affected are the knee, hip and hand. Pain is the earliest symptom, typically made worse by repetitive use.
Your risk of getting this type of arthritis increases with your age. Other common risk factors are joint trauma, obesity, and repetitive joint use.
Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disease. It occurs if your body's own immune system mistakenly attacks the cell lining inside the joint. This chronic and potentially disabling arthritis causes pain, stiffness, swelling, and loss of function in the joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis can be difficult to diagnose early because it may begin gradually with subtle symptom. Researchers think an inherited trait coupled with some other unknown factor, potentially environmental, triggers the disease.
As you can see the causation of oseoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are very different. Your management and treatment will vary as well. Consulting your doctor to develop and determine an appropriate treatment plan for your condition is fundamental.
Proper exercises performed on a regular basis are an important part of arthritis treatment. The form of exercises depend on which joints are involved, the amount of inflammation, how stable the joints are, and whether a joint replacement procedure has been done.
Three main types of exercises in absence of severe pain or swelling:
* Range-of-motion exercise: moving a joint as far as it will comfortably go and then stretching it a little further to increase and maintain joint mobility, decrease pain, and improve joint function.
* Strengthening: using muscles without moving joints to help increase muscle strength and stabilize weak joints.
* Aerobic exercises: such as walking, swimming and bicycling to strengthen the heart and lungs and increase stamina.
Again, consulting a physician who is knowledgeable about the medical and rehabilitation needs of people with arthritis is best for assisting you further.
Believing that you just have to accept the debilitating affects of arthritis on your healthy lifestyle is old school. Many new treatments are available and discovering if one will work for you starts in your doctor's office.