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Avoid Arthritis to Keep that Spring in Your Step
Get a Jump on Joint Pain

Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease of the joints, especially the weight-bearing joints, that develops when the linings of joints degenerate, leading to lipping and spurring of bone, pain, and decreased mobility and function.

About Osteoarthritis

Symptoms
Once called “wear-and-tear arthritis,” osteoarthritis is a universal consequence of aging among animals with a bony skeleton. Osteoarthritis onset is gradual and most often affects the hips, knees, fingers, and spine, although other joints also may be involved. Pain is the main symptom, which usually worsens with heavy exercise and is relieved by rest. Morning stiffness is also common and diminishes with movement. As it progresses, joint motion is lost, and tenderness and grating sensations may develop. Osteoarthritis of the spine may lead to shooting pains down the arms or legs.

Living with Osteoarthritis

  • Use topical ointment: Treat discomfort with an ointment or cream containing 0.025 to 0.075% capsaicin four times a day over painful joints.
  • Add antioxidants: Eat more fruits and vegetables and take 400 IU a day of vitamin E to put antioxidants to work protecting your joints.
  • Help prevent joint damage with GS and CS: Take 1,500 mg a day of glucosamine sulfate, 800 to 1,200 mg a day of chondroitin sulfate, or a combination of both supplements, for pain and to protect joints.
  • Get moving: Start a gentle program of walking and strengthening exercise to reduce pain and improve joint function.

Reducing Osteoarthritis Risk

  • Slim down: Achieve and maintain a healthy weight to reduce stress to joints and prevent osteoarthritis.
  • Get moving: A gentle program of walking and strengthening exercise has been shown to benefit people with osteoarthritis—so get a jumpstart by staying active before problems start.

Living & Eating Right
The right diet and daily habits may help manage many diseases and improve general quality of life. For this condition, scientific research has found benefit in the following healthy eating tips.

  • Try the Warmbrand diet: A diet free of meat, poultry, dairy, chemicals, sugar, eggs, and processed foods has helped people with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis in anecdotal reports. Work with a specialist to ensure healthy nutrition.
  • Avoid nightshade vegetables: Abstain from eating tomatoes, white potatoes, peppers (except black pepper), and eggplant, which contain solanine, a substance that may contribute to osteoarthritis.
  • Uncover allergies: If other therapies are unsuccessful in relieving symptoms, talk to your doctor about identifying and eliminating possible food allergies.
  • Lose the excess: Obesity increases the risk of osteoarthritis developing in weight-bearing joints, and weight loss in women is associated with reduced risk. Weight loss is also thought to reduce the pain of existing osteoarthritis.

Exercise—a Key to Healthy Aging
If you’re a senior interested in staying young, agile, and healthy, be sure to get regular exercise and support it with a wellness lifestyle.

First, Find Your Program
Choose exercises or physical activities that you enjoy, that get you outdoors, and that you can do with friends. Some ideas:

  • Walking is one of your best options for aerobic exercises. It requires no special equipment other than good footwear and a water bottle. Put on sunscreen after the first 15 minutes of sun exposure, and wear sunglasses and perhaps a hat or scarf to protect yourself from the sun’s rays, especially if you go walking after 10 a.m. and before 3 p.m. For extra motivation, walk with a friend.
  • Swimming is another great aerobic exercise, especially if your joints don’t like walking. Bring a water bottle with you to the pool. Ear plugs made for swimming can prevent ear irritation or infections.
  • Tai chi maintains balance, flexibility, and strength. Dr. Jim Concotelli, the vice president of programs and services at Horizon Bay Senior Communities in Tampa, Florida, has documented that regular tai chi practice in older adults reduces falls by 50%. “Tai chi at any age can be fulfilling,” says Concotelli. Tai chi also lowers blood pressure, strengthens the heart, increases oxygen intake, calms a stressed nervous system, and improves immune function.

Next, Give Your Workout a Boost
Maintain vitality and get the energy you need for regular exercise by maintaining a wellness lifestyle:

  • Eating balanced meals provides you with the fuel for exercise. If you exercise in the morning, make sure you eat breakfast. Combine carbohydrates with protein for sustained energy, such as fortified cereal with milk and fruit.
  • Keep healthy snacks on hand to keep your energy up. Nuts, fruits, energy bars, flavored rice cakes, yogurt, and the like make delicious pick-me-ups.
  • Sufficient sleep also gives you added energy. Get to sleep quicker by winding down before you go to bed. Tips include dimming the lights, reading a book, taking a bubble bath, or sipping some milk or warm herbal tea such as chamomile.

Copyright © 2009 Aisle7. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of the Aisle7 content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Aisle7. Healthnotes Newsletter is for educational or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional. Aisle7 shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. AISLE7 is a registered trademark of Aisle7.

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