Coping with Arthritis: What You Can Do

Coping with Arthritis: What You Can DoIf you or someone close to you has arthritis, you know how challenging it can be to manage the symptoms. According to the American Geriatrics Society, approximately half of seniors 65 or older have arthritis, and managing this chronic condition can be tricky as any part of the body can be afflicted.

Managing the pain associated with this disease is complicated as living with this condition can make it difficult to move around and participate in activities. Understanding this challenge can help in developing a plan to decrease pain and live a fuller life with this debilitating condition.

There are several different types of arthritis. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a disease affecting the joints and is associated with pain caused by the deterioration of the afflicted joint. Over time, the pain becomes chronic and can affect mobility. 

Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease, causes joint pain, swelling, and inflammation. This form of arthritis occurs in the fingers, wrist, neck, ankles, feet, and hips. Rheumatoid arthritis is more common in women and can be severely debilitating as those suffering from it get fevers and become tired quite quickly.

Gout is another form of arthritis and is caused by a buildup of uric acid. Gout is worsened by certain medications and by drinking alcohol. This type of arthritis is likely to occur in big toes and other joints in the body and is particularly painful.

Coping with arthritis requires treatment designed for the type you have and the severity of symptoms. The Arthritis Foundation recommends the following for people with moderate pain or discomfort associated with arthritis:

  • Participate in physical activity
  • Keep weight down
  • Strengthen muscles for afflicted joints

Some specific activities you may be able to do to ease the symptoms of arthritis include walking, swimming, and bike riding. These activities help to improve symptoms because they help to keep joints mobile, which decreases the pain.

Some other suggestions recommended by The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), are to avoid weight gain, which can result in worsening of symptoms with arthritis. Some of the ways to do this are to limit soda intake and make some changes in diet, such as cutting out fats and drinking more water. 

To help strengthen muscles around the affected joints, the Arthritis Foundation recommends using elastic bands which also help to improve range of motion. This can help you cope with the pain of arthritis. Elastic bands are suitable for seniors because of the option to choose gentle to firm bands to reduce injury. Another physical activity like yoga has helped improve arthritis symptoms because yoga helps seniors stay mobile and can help you to lead a happier life. 

If you have arthritis, choosing some options to help you stay mobile and reduce pain are worth considering. You can find a way to cope with the symptoms of arthritis by talking to your doctor and exploring ways to stay active.

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