Aging is a beautiful process that involves the development of various body parts, both internal and external.
The process may also come with some health and body changes. For example, there are health conditions commonly associated with old age, such as neck pain, arthritis, back pain, or body pain.
Arthritis, in particular, affects older people’s ability to carry out their daily activities. To ensure your older relatives stay active and fit to maintain their independence, check https://seasonsretirement.com/how-to-prevent-arthritis/ for tips on preventing arthritis.
This article discusses the importance of proper diet and exercise in preventing arthritis in older persons.
Arthritis occurs when one or more joints become inflamed or stressed, which can lead to symptoms such as stiffness and acute pain that only worsen as the individual gets older. About 100 known types of arthritis are caused by different reasons, such as wear and tear, infections, and underlying diseases.
Each type also has its unique causes and methods of treatment. Some of the most common forms of arthritis include:
- Osteoarthritis (OA)
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
- Psoriatic arthritis
Most of these forms of arthritis are more common in women, except for Gout, which is prevalent in men.
Usually, arthritis symptoms occur gradually, but they sometimes show up suddenly. Rheumatoid arthritis begins developing between ages 30 and 50, while osteoarthritis occurs in people above 50 to 60.
Arthritis is a non-curable disease, but there are certain ways or routine changes to prevent or slow down its progression.
Knowing how to avoid arthritis is essential, and below are a few pointers.
In preventing arthritis, some dietary changes are important. One of the symptoms of arthritis is inflammation of the joints, which can be prevented or reduced by consuming foods rich in Omega-3 fats.
Examples of such foods are:
- Oily fishes such as salmons and sardines
- Linseeds and linseed oil
- Margarine and eggs
- Fish oil supplements
- Canola oil
Eating foods rich in Omega-3 particularly helps against rheumatoid arthritis as it is an inflammatory disease.
Fish oils should not be replaced with fish liver oils like cod liver oil, as the latter contains high vitamin A content and can have serious side effects if consumed in excess.
The aforementioned are also useful tips on how to prevent osteoarthritis as they help to reduce inflammation at the joints.
Gout is caused when uric acid (a body waste product) builds up in the bloodstream and forms crystals in a joint, causing pain. And this condition can be relieved or prevented by lowering the uric acid levels in the bloodstream. This is achieved through little diet changes, such as:
- Avoid foods with high purine content, such as shellfish, scallops, herring, trout, bacon, and turkey.
- Avoid eating some organ meats like liver, kidney, and brains.
- Don’t eat game meats like venison, veal, and pork.
- Shun the consumption of alcohol.
- Reduce consumption of sugary drinks and sweets.
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Avoid fasting and crash dieting.
Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is caused when the protective cartilage in the joint – responsible for cushioning the ends of the bones – wears down over time. This condition affects all body joints, especially the joints in the hands, knees, hips, and spine.
Consumption of the following foods is vital in osteoarthritis prevention:
- Garlic and onions: They contain diallyl disulphide that slows down the deterioration of cartilage.
- Nuts: Pistachio nuts, walnuts, and almonds contain healthy unsaturated fats that can fight against inflammation. Nuts are a great source of Vitamin E – a good agent for treating osteoarthritis due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Beans: C-reactive protein (an inflammatory marker) in the blood can be lowered by the high amount of fiber in beans.
- Fruits and vegetables: contain antioxidants with high fiber content to help reduce inflammation, enhance digestive health, and maintain a healthy body weight.
While preventing arthritis with diet, drastic meal changes shouldn’t be made without the advice of a physician or dietician, especially when it pertains to older persons. This is to avoid health complications.
This is essential for preventing and treating arthritis. Indeed, exercising involves exerting your joints, which may already be in pain, to work. And this seems counterproductive.
However, the truth is that exercises are actually very helpful as they can increase your strength and flexibility, reduce joint pain, and help control your weight.
Before picking an exercise, you should check with a physician to determine your health situation. Some recommended physical activities for arthritis include:
1. Range of motion exercises
These exercises allow your joints to move through their complete range of motion, reducing joint stiffness and the risk of injury.
A simple example of this activity is raising your hands over your head or rolling your shoulders In a clockwise or anticlockwise direction. This exercise can be done every day.
2. Aerobic exercises
These exercises help to improve your overall fitness. They build endurance, stamina, and energy. They can also reduce your weight, lowering the pressure on the joints. Examples are cycling, swimming, and walking.
Moderate intensity of about 30 minutes five days a week is recommended for these physical activities. You may also break each exercise into ten-minute blocks.
3. Strengthening exercises
They strengthen the muscles that protect and support your joints. Examples are leg extensions, table push-ups, and weight lifting.
When practicing strengthening exercises, aim for two days a week and remember to take breaks in between. Also, don’t exercise the same muscle groups for two days in a row.
4. Balance exercises
Yoga, tai chi, and balancing on one leg are exercises that help to improve your balance, posture, and coordination. They are also beneficial for body relaxation.
Surely, you would want your parents and grandparents to lead happy and active lives. And arthritis is one condition that can threaten your wonderful dream for them.
So, we should use the information in this piece to put measures in place to prevent arthritis in our older loved ones or relieve symptoms of the condition so they can stay fit and healthy.