Arthritis Awareness Week

It is a common belief that arthritis is a disease of the aged but the fact is it does not discriminate based on age.  Moreover, arthritis is an umbrella term covering over 100 medical conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system, specifically the joints.

Currently 3.85 million Australians suffer from this disease and leading researcher Access Economics predicts by the year 2050 this number will have jumped to 7 million with the cost to a tune of over $50 billion dollars to the economy.

March 23rd to 29th marks Arthritis Awareness week in Australia and it is important you become educated with respect to this disease as more than likely you or someone you know is suffering from it right now.

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is the breakdown of the joint that results in pain, inflammation, stiffness and loss of function.   In very simple terms the cartilage of the joint covering the bones allowing them to move smoothly breaks down.   This damage can cause weakness, instability and deformities that can obstruct and interfere with everyday tasks and make you feel terrible

If I have it what can I do to treat this?

There are a number of things you can do but in this article we are going to focus on exercise and nutrition.

Exercise is crucial to successfully treating this disease.  You may object here because you are feeling too sore and you may think that exercise will aggravate your joint pain and stiffness but that’s not the case. Lack of exercise actually can make your joints even more painful and stiff.  That’s because keeping your muscles and surrounding tissue strong is crucial to maintaining support for your bones. Not exercising weakens those supporting muscles, creating more stress on your joints.

Exercises that focus on stretching, strengthening, balance and that are low impact are your ideal choices.  Remember arthritis damages the joints and you need to choose exercises that are kind to your joints and keep them moving.  The physio’s at Healthy Innovations have put together a 15-20 minute program that would benefit anyone suffering from this condition we will include in part 2 of this article.

Diet is another vital factor to consider when you have arthritis.  Foods like the night shade veggies, processed food, blackened meat, gluten containing food and sugar are all foods that are necessary to stay away from and they cause inflammation in the body and joints.  These foods should be replaced with fresh fruits and vegetables and meats that are not cooked under very high temperatures.  The motto I use for planning my diet is if my great, great, great grandmother did not eat it – I probably should avoid it.  Good food is the food that grows on trees or comes from the ground that is minimally or not processed at all.  Check out the blog at HI and articles featuring nutrition and nutritional considerations for arthritis will be posted during the month of March.

Arthritis can be a very painful and debilitating disease but the good news is there are things you can do to help your joints.

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