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About Arthritis

Arthritis comprises around 100 different diseases and situations, with Osteoarthritis being the most common one. Other types of arthritis are Gout, Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Common symptoms of the disease include pain, stiffness, burning pain, swelling in or around the joints. Forms of arthritis such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus can affect various organs and cause extensive symptoms.

Who could suffer from Arthritis?

Arthritis is most common in adults especially over the age of 65, however people of all ages, even children may have the disease. Approximately 2/3 of people with arthritis are younger than 65. Women have higher changes to develop arthritis in all age groups, while arthritis affects all ethnic and racial groups.

Arthritis: A Public Health Problem

High Frequency: About 1 out of 5 adults and 1 out of 250 children suffer from some type of arthritis. In particular, Osteoarthritis in the knee shows recently an increasing frequency. A recent study suggests that the risk of developing Osteoarthritis in the knee is 47% and rises up to 58% in those who had injured the knee joint previously.

Incompetence: Arthritis is the most common cause of disability within adults.

Risky side effects: Arthritis prevents people from exercising and having a healthy lifestyle which implies a higher risk factor for many degenerative diseases, which can lead to serious negative consequences.

Arthritis Risk Factors

-Age (as aging reduces the ability of the cartilage to heal)
-Diet (lack of calcium, vitamins C, D)
-Obesity (increases the pressure on the joints)
-Hereditary diseases of the bone (bone malformations, Ehlers-Danlos, Charcot)
-Occupation types (such as manual work)

Arthritis Symptoms

Arthritis can affect any joint, whereas the symptoms can be mild to very serious. Some of the symptoms are:

-Short-term stiffness, especially in the morning
-Decreased range of motion hinge
-Click noise in the joints and instability
-Severe pain in the affected areas

Gravity

The assessment is usually done by:
- The level of the pain
- The functionality of the joint
- Changed in the affected areas as seen in radiographs

Tips for maintaining an appropriate program of exercise and physical activity

People suffering from arthritis can have a safe and enjoyable physical activity program. It is important to maintain a normal weight to reduce burden on your joints. Weight loss can also reduce the intensity of symptoms.

The most crucial factor is that people suffering from arthritis must find the exercise or activity that is suitable for their condition. For instance, this means that they may need to start by walking 5 minutes every second day. Remember that more physical activity will improve the patient’s condition. However, it may take some time until the desired level of physical activity is reached. A good approach is to try to increase the intensity of physical activity each week. Usually this takes more than a month.


It is important to modify the type of physical activity so that it is suitable for their condition. For instance, they should reduce the days or the time they go walking, and preferably go swimming or do cycling instead. Keep in mind that physical activity might need to be stopped in case of a flare of arthritis symptoms, or at least to be reduced to the point that symptoms do not get worse. When symptoms go away it is advisable to return gradually to the previous levels of physical activity in order to have a better chance to stay healthy.

There are people with arthritis that run marathons. If you have not found which type of exercise might be beneficial for you, a good idea is to choose a physical activity friendly to your joints, such as cycling, swimming, dancing or a mixture of such activities.

If you think that a special program at a gym for people who suffer from arthritis is easier for you and offers you safety try this. It is often helpful to share experiences with other patients. On the other hand, if you prefer exercising on your own, for instance walking in your neighborhood, choose a route with reduced chances of tripping or stumbling etc.

In any case it is very useful to consult a specialist (i.e. health care practitioner, physician, general practitioner, orthopedic, physiotherapist) about your physical activity program.

Nutrition

Despite the fact that for a long time the importance of nutrition on the disease was neglected, according to recent more advanced studies arthritis nutrition is deemed as a significant factor. Nowadays 'Arthritis diet' is receiving much more attention. Recent studies showed that certain vitamins, foods, and fish oil can help in certain types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout arthritis. However, it is important to note that nutrition cannot treat arthritis but mainly handle the condition. Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins D, C and E, calcium can prove useful in certain types and conditions of arthritis.

Today it is believed by many physicians that arthritis can be controlled effectively with a mixture of diet, some form of exercise and medication. However, each type of arthritis requires a different blend.
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