Can Arthritis Be Prevented?

Senior Asian woman rubbing her hands in discomfort, suffering from arthritis in her hand while sitting on sofa at home. Elderly and health issues concept

Millions of Americans have arthritis. If you think it’s inevitable for you, too, that’s not necessarily true. Read on to learn some things you can do to help keep yourself from getting this joint condition.

Most people only worry about arthritis as they get older, yet 60% of Americans under age 64 have at least one form of this degenerative disease. Osteoarthritis, or “wear-and-tear” arthritis, is the most common type, with about 33 million American adults diagnosed.

If you want to avoid the achy, swollen joints arthritis brings, you’re probably wondering if there’s any way to prevent this condition. The team at Prima Medicine in Fairfax and South Riding, Virginia, understands.

Our providers offer expert care, treatment, and long-term management of different types of arthritis. We also know that when it comes to your health, doing what you can to prevent chronic conditions from developing in the first place is the best course of treatment.

In this blog, we give you our top five tips on what you can do to help prevent developing arthritis.

1. Maintain a healthy weight

You develop osteoarthritis when the cartilage that cushions your bones wears down. Without enough cartilage, your bones rub against each other, causing pain and other debilitating symptoms.

Weighing more than a healthy body weight adds extra pressure on your joints. This can cause cartilage to wear down more quickly and speed up the development of osteoarthritis and its unpleasant symptoms.

To keep your cartilage as healthy as possible for as long as possible, maintain a healthy weight. If you’re overweight or obese, make changes now to lose the excess pounds. You can visit your Prima Medicine provider to discuss weight management solutions customized for you and your lifestyle.

2. Don’t forget your feet

The shoes you wear affect your feet and the way you carry yourself. Ill-fitting shoes that don’t provide proper support can put your feet in unnatural or unhealthy positions. This, in turn, can add pressure to your joints, strain your tendons, ligaments, and muscles, and accelerate osteoarthritis.

For the best joint health, stick to well-fitting, comfortable shoes that give your feet and body the support they need.

3. Eat for joint (and overall) health

A healthy, well-balanced diet rich in a variety of vitamins and nutrients helps build strong and healthy joints. The good news is this type of diet is also one of the best things you can do for your overall health, too.

Eating for joint and overall health can also help you keep your weight under control, which is important for helping keep arthritis at bay. Focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods centered on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, beans, nuts, and seeds.

Some specific foods that are linked with lowering inflammation and boosting collagen — which can help keep cartilage healthy — include:

  • Dark leafy greens, such as kale
  • Almonds, pistachios, and walnuts
  • Berries, such as blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries
  • Garlic and onions

Some studies also show a chemical found in green tea can help prevent the breakdown of cartilage and stop the production of some inflammatory chemicals, which may help in the fight against arthritis.

4. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

Your cartilage contains mostly water, and staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water is one of the best ways to ensure your joints stay lubricated. This is because when you’re dehydrated, the fluid in your cartilage disappears.

Over time, this can damage the cartilage, lead to poor cushioning between joints, and increase the wear and tear that contributes to osteoarthritis. Unfortunately, once your cartilage is damaged, it can’t repair itself.

To keep your joints as healthy as possible, be sure to drink at least eight glasses of water every day.

5. Get and stay active

Regular exercise doesn’t just help your heart and keep your waistline trim. It can also help you develop a strong skeletomuscular system, which, in turn, can help protect your joints.

Staying active can also help keep your joints functioning optimally for as long as possible by improving your range of motion and flexibility. Plus, regular exercise can slow bone loss and even rebuild weak bones, since weight-bearing exercise triggers your body’s production of calcium and signals your bone cells to regenerate.

Work to get in regular exercise every day. You don’t have to join a gym or become a weekend warrior to enjoy the benefits staying active brings. Your Prima Medicine provider can help you create a customized exercise program that meets your needs.

To learn more about preventing arthritis, book an appointment online or over the phone with Prima Medicine today.

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