Arthritis is accompanied by three main symptoms: joint pain, reduced mobility, and swelling of the affected joint. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are the dominate types of arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder in which the body mistakenly attacks healthy cells, leading to joint degeneration. Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, is caused by general wear-and-tear on the joint. Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage – the tough, springy tissue that cushions the bones in a joint – is worn away or compromised. Osteoarthritis is common among older adults since simple aging often causes increased brittleness. Individuals who have a physically demanding occupation, an acute injury, or put repeated stress on a joint can are at a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis.
Physically demanding jobs that require heavy lifting or repetitive motion such as construction workers, dancers, and athletes create extra strain on the joints. Also, retail, hospitality, and healthcare workers who spend much of the day on their feet are at increased risk. Preventive measures for arthritis involve proper stretching before and during activities to ease joints, in addition to taking frequent breaks to rest. Once arthritis has set in, there is no cure for completely getting rid of it, but there are options to ease symptoms. Treatment ranges from lifestyle changes to medications to surgical procedures depending on the severity of the ailment. Regular exercise can strengthen muscles and potentially stimulate cartilage growth. According to the CDC, women can greatly benefit from weight loss to relieve knee osteoarthritis. Diet is essential to health: vitamins C, E, and D are full of antioxidants that can help protect the body. Over-the-counter medications including Tylenol, aspirin, and ibuprofen can relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Other mild forms of osteoarthritis can benefit from massages, acupuncture, physical therapy, ointments, and orthopedic soles. Severe arthritis can be treated with hyaluronic acid injections or joint replacement. Discuss with your physician the best treatment for your condition.
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