Arthritis Awareness Month

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Arthritis is a disease that impacts more than 50 million Americans, making it the number one cause of disability in the country. There are more than 100 types of arthritis and there is no sure way to prevent arthritis. But, you can help to reduce your risk, and delay the potential onset of certain types of arthritis.

Some risk factors are behaviors and circumstances that can be changed in order to reduce risk, delay onset or altogether prevent arthritis.
A few examples of arthritis and related diseases and associated modifiable risk factors:
Osteoarthritis – Maintain a healthy weight
Rheumatoid arthritis – Do not smoke
Gout – Eat a healthful diet, low in sugar, alcohol and purines

How do you know if you have arthritis?
There are four important warning signs that should prompt you to talk to a health care provider.
Pain. Pain can be constant or it may come and go. It may occur when at rest or while moving.
Swelling. Some types of arthritis cause the skin over the affected joint to become red and swollen. Swelling that lasts for 3 days or longer or occurs more than 3 times a month should prompt a visit.
Stiffness. This is a classic arthritis symptom, especially when waking up in the morning. Morning stiffness that lasts longer than an hour is good reason to suspect arthritis.
Difficulty moving a joint. It shouldn’t be that hard or painful to get up from your favorite chair.

Self Management:
Preserving flexibility, range of motion and muscle strength are important ways to protect joint health. Despite that, nearly half of adults with arthritis report no leisure-time physical activity. Not being physically active is bad for arthritis.

Stay active. Balance activity with rest. Eat a healthy balanced diet. Improve your sleep.

Exercise is considered the most effective non-drug treatment for reducing pain and improving movement in patients with osteoarthritis.
Yoga is proven to help people with arthritis. Regular yoga practice can help reduce joint pain, improve joint flexibility and function and lower stress and tension to promote better sleep.
Strengthening is better than stretching for easing neck pain.
Walking improves circulation. It also lowers the risk of blood clots. Walking shores up your bones, supports your joints, and helps you do more, longer.
Best exercise equipment for arthritis: Elliptical Trainer, Stationary Bike, Rowing Machine, Resistance Bands, Free Weights, and the Exercise Ball.