Arthritis is a condition characterized by inflammation of one or more of the joints. The most common symptoms of arthritis are stiffness and pain in the joints, and this condition tends to worsen over time and can become completely debilitating.

According to the CDC, roughly 54.4 million Americans have arthritis, which accounts for a quarter of the country. While arthritis doesn’t discriminate when it comes to age, it is more common in older people. That means that many of the people we work with through our home health care agency have arthritis. This has given us unique insight into the condition, which we have used to create this list of tips for preventing and caring for arthritis.

Preventing Arthritis

If you don’t have arthritis yet, you may be wondering what you can do to prevent it. Arthritis isn’t always preventable, as some risk factors, such as age, gender, or family history, are outside of your control. However, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of arthritis, as well as other diseases common in the aging population.

  • Exercise. Exercise is powerful for your overall health, and can be particularly beneficial for your joints. As you exercise, you strengthen the muscles supporting the joints, which stabilizes them and can protect from wear and tear.
  • Eat fish. Seafood lovers, rejoice! Some fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which offer a wide variety of benefits to the body, including reducing inflammation. One study found that women who ate fish regularly were at a lower risk for rheumatoid arthritis.  
  • Avoid injury. Your joints wear out naturally over time. But when you injure them, you speed this process. Make a point to wear proper safety equipment and use proper exercise techniques.
  • Use the right techniques. Whether you’re sitting, standing, walking, or lifting a heavy object, it’s important to use the proper technique as to not put unnecessary strain on your joints.
  • Get care promptly. If you do begin to experience pain or stiffness in your joints, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Early intervention can help slow the progression.

Caring for Arthritis

If you do have arthritis, there are things you can do to reduce your symptoms and improve your mobility.

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers. Many people are able to manage their arthritis pain with OTC medications.
  • Anti-rheumatic drugs. You may also benefit from a prescription from your doctor.
  • Heat and cold therapies. Applying warm and cold compresses may help reduce inflammation and ease pain.
  • Staying active. Balancing an active lifestyle with proper rest is important for people with arthritis.
  • Strengthening muscles. Spending time developing the muscles to support your joints can help ease some of the symptoms of arthritis.

At Gulf Shore Private Home Care, we work with many individuals with arthritis. We are happy to add special considerations to our care plans for those who have joint pain. If you’re in need of home health care in Naples, we can help. Contact our home health care agency for more information.