May is National Arthritis Awareness Month, and for many aging people, learning more about their symptoms and issues can help them make positive strides towards choosing the right treatment.
Many aging people don’t realize that they’re exhibiting signs of early arthritis, yet it is one of the most common causes of disability in the United States, affecting roughly 50 million people.
While arthritis can be debilitating, education and knowledge can help you deal with many of the symptoms and issues.
Here are a few essential things you need to know about arthritis.
There Are Different Types of Arthritis
When many people think of arthritis, they think of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
What they may not know is that there are over 100 types of the disease that are known, and they each can have varying symptoms:
- Osteoarthritis: When cartilage between bones is worn away, causing the bones to run against one another; can cause stiffness and mild pain, even disability
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: An autoimmune disease that causes your body to attack your joints and muscles. Can cause pain, inflammation, fatigue, and stiffness. Can cause joint damage and disability. Can also affect the internal organs.
- Gout: Generally affecting the joint in the big toe, gout develops as a result of too much uric acid in the blood. Symptoms include pain, stiffness, and joint swelling. Over time, gout can joint damage and disability.
- Psoriatic Arthritis: Similar to rheumatoid arthritis, this disease is caused by an immune system issue, and occurs most commonly in people who have psoriasis. It causes pain and tenderness in the connective tissues, and can cause disability.
- Fibromyalgia: Although gout is not a typical arthritis-like disease, it does cause widespread pain in the musculosketal tissues. Caused by misfiring nerve cells, this disease can cause intense pain near joints that is sensitive to touch. Fibromyalgia can also cause mood disturbance, fatigue and issues concentrating.
Certain Foods Can Cause Arthritis Flare Ups
You may think arthritis is a purely musculosketetal issue, but it turns out that what you eat can have a huge impact on when and how you have flare ups.
These foods and ingredients may cause a spike in arthritic pain:
- Sugar: contains inflammatory elements called cytokines
- Refine Carbohydrates: foods like white flour and white rice can cause the production of advanced glycation end products that produce inflammation in the human body.
- Monosodium Glutamate: MSG can trigger essential pathways to chronic inflammation
Arthritis Treatments That Work
If you’re exhibiting symptoms of arthritis, you aren’t alone. Over 50 million Americans have some form of this often-debilitating disease.
But there are treatments and at-home management techniques that can lessen your pain and give you back your mobility:
- Schedule a doctor’s visit. Do research on doctors who specialize in treatment and pain management, and have your symptoms and complaints listed or memorized beforehand. Only a doctor can evaluate your symptoms and assign the proper treatments or medications. Only a doctor can tell you if you’re a candidate for joint replacement surgery or other extensive treatments.
- Glucosamine and chondroitin can help manage arthritis pain. If you have knee joint pain, glucosamine is a particularly effective supplement. Chondroitin is often used in tandem with glucosamine, to provide relief from osteoarthritis.
- Consider adding a regular exercise routine to your life. Exercise can help increase strength and flexibility, reduce joint pain and help with muscle and joint stiffness.
- Adding anti-inflammatory foods to your diet can help regulate tenderness, joint swelling and the general discomfort of this disease. Some of the best foods for arthritic pain health are fish, nuts, vegetables, fruit, olive oil and legumes.
Bluebird Homecare Can Help Your Aging Loved One Deal with Arthritis
If you or an aging loved one is battling the pain and joint stiffness of this terrible disease, you might benefit from an extra pair of hands around the house.
From helping to prepare meals to offering transportation to and from the doctor and pharmacy, a Bluebird Homecare staff member will provide the assistance you need.
Contact Bluebird today to learn more about our services and sign up for a free consultation!