13 Things Everyone With Arthritis Needs to Know for Better Living
8 minute read
Arthritis affects millions in this country and this painful joint disease can interfere with daily living. Many people think of arthritis as a single condition, but in reality it is a collection of ailments.
In fact, there is a lot that most people do not realize about arthritis, including those afflicted with the condition. When it comes to arthritis the more you know, the easier it is to live with.
What You Need To Know
Whether you have osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, or any other form of the common joint disease, you can stay ahead of it and live more comfortably by understanding the disease.
The more you know, the better prepared you can be, the more efficient your treatment plan can be, and the less impacted your life will be.
1. Avoid NSAIDs
The majority of arthritis patients try anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen, to combat their joint pain. While inflammation is relieved, these drugs do nothing to heal or improve the health of your damaged joints.
In addition to this prolonged use can cause serious side effects that contribute to worse arthritis pain. In fact, some natural alternatives have been found to be even more helpful than ibuprofen.
2. Limit Opioid Use
Opioid medications are a popular resource for pain relief, but studies have found that with regards to arthritis pains, opioids actually make things worse. Opioids are also addictive, so it is recommended to avoid them for treating arthritis.
3. Increased Heart Health Risk
The widespread inflammation associated with arthritis impacts your heart. In addition to this, painful joints restrict your movement, which means you get less heart-healthy exercise.
Overuse of NSAID medications also contributes to poor heart health. Overall, arthritis patients have been found to have a 24-percent higher risk for cardiovascular problems, with rheumatoid arthritis contributing to even higher odds.
4. Natural Supplements Are Effective
Research has found that where drugs fall short, natural supplements can effectively promote joint health and reduce pain. Collagen, curcumin, and boswellia serrata all work to reduce inflammation and promote healing to damaged joints.
When used daily, a high-quality supplement containing these powerful ingredients can take better care of your joints than the leading arthritis medications.
5. Cortisone Is for Short-Term Use Only
Single shots of cortisone do help with short-term pain management, but extended and long-term use causes more damage to your joints. With time, the steroid injections also become less effective at reducing pain, so you should avoid those. Opt for more natural and long-term joint care options.
6. Fix Your Insomnia
Insomnia is often a side effect of arthritis, as painful joints make it almost impossible to get comfortable at night and even waking up in the morning can be difficult. Research has found that cognitive behavioral therapy can help change your thoughts and perceptions on pain, which reduces the physical pain felt.
Those that have tried this therapy have reported getting better sleep and less nighttime pain.
7. Beware of Menopause
Menopause has been found to trigger arthritis or worsen current conditions. Joint degeneration speeds up after menopause, so it is advised to start a joint health plan early to give your joints the most protection possible.
By knowing what is ahead, you can be better prepared to keep your joints healthy for as long as possible.
8. Trial and Error
TNF (tumor necrosis factor) is the inflammatory protein responsible for cartilage deterioration and joint pain. There are TNF inhibitors available to help block the actions of this inflammatory marker, but you may need to try a few to find the one that works.
Studies have found that even when patients do not respond to the first one they try, they get a positive response after choosing a different one. So, don’t give up.
9. Increased Cancer Risk
Because of the inflammation associated with arthritis, your risk for certain cancers also increases. Rheumatoid arthritis in particular has the strongest association with cancer because RA medications suppress your immune system.
10. Stay Ahead of the Game
The earlier you get a diagnosis of arthritis confirmed, the better your chances are of controlling pain and slowing deterioration. Damage occurs to the joint within the first six months, but many wait years to get a diagnosis and start a treatment plan.
Knowing what to look for helps you seek treatment sooner and increases your chances of living a pain-free life.
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11. Keep an Eye on Your Gut
Those with arthritis have an increased risk for inflammatory bowel disease and other digestive troubles. This is thought to be a result of the chronic inflammation and because drugs commonly used to treat the condition trigger IBD symptoms. For those at risk for digestive issues, consider adding a probiotic supplement to your diet to enhance digestive health in the face of arthritic inflammation.
12. Watch What You Eat
Tomatoes have been found to trigger arthritis because of the increased levels of uric acid they produce. Alcohol, seafood, and red meat are additional trigger foods you need to watch out for.
| Related: The Arthritis Diet: Eating Your Way to Inflammation Relief |
Increased fiber intake, on the other hand, has been shown to reduce the risk of arthritis-related pains, which can make it easier to move about each day as you need.
13. Lose Weight
Obesity and excess weight has long been a bane for human health. The simplest way to improve joint health and reduce arthritis pain is by shedding those excess pounds.
| Related: How to Stop Arthritis From Taking Away Your Favorite Activities |
By losing as little as 5 percent of your body weight, you will notice improvements in joint mobility, reduced cartilage deterioration, and less pain. Getting regular exercise helps with weight loss and helps to reduce pain and improve joint function.
There are various activities that are great even for arthritis sufferers.
The Bottom Line
There are also many effective arthritis treatment options out there, with natural supplements providing the most benefits. You can live your life and reduce joint pain while promoting optimal joint health.
The cause to arthritis may be out of your control, but you can take control of your pain by understanding arthritis, avoiding common treatment mistakes, and promoting overall joint health.