Arthritis is a chronic condition characterized by joint pain and inflammation. And understandably, chronic pain can take its toll on your quality of life. So how can you maintain the health of your joints and keep from developing arthritis?
Unfortunately, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to arthritis prevention, because there are many types of arthritis and each has different risk factors. For example, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder and there is little you can do to prevent it. On the other hand, osteoarthritis (OA) has a number of risk factors that are under your control.
While you may not be able to completely prevent arthritis, addressing modifiable risk factors is a step you can take in the right direction.
Ways to Reduce Arthritis Risk
Here are 5 ways to reduce your risk of developing osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis and the one with risk factors that you can control:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
Extra weight can speed up joint degeneration —especially the knees. Every extra pound of weight adds 4 extra pounds of pressure on your knees. Obesity raises your risk of developing certain types of arthritis and makes symptoms worse for almost all types.
Being physically active helps strengthen the muscles around your joints and improves flexibility — both of which are good for your joints. Exercise also can help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, which may also reduce arthritis risk. If you already have arthritis or symptoms, stick to low-impact activities like swimming or ask a trainer to show you ways to modify them to be friendly to joints.
- Use proper form and techniques when exercising.
An injured joint is more likely to develop arthritis. To avoid injury, use proper form and techniques when working out, sitting, lifting, carrying objects and playing sports.
Engaging in repetitive motions at work or play puts your joints at a greater risk of injury and developing arthritis.
If you think you have arthritis, see a doctor. The condition is usually progressive and won’t get better on its own.
Ask your primary physician for a referral to a specialist who can help, or call Sarasota Memorial’s HealthLine physician referral hotline at 941-917-7777.
A medical professional can recommend lifestyle changes and treatments that may slow progression of the disease and can improve symptoms.
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Date Last Reviewed: August 21, 2019
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD