Whether you’re getting older or seeing family and friends suffer through arthritis, it’s natural to wonder about your own risk.
Are you doomed to a life of gnarled fingers and achy knees?
It isn’t always easy to answer that question, but it’s worth asking.
Dr. Nikhil Pandhi and our team know how detrimental arthritis can be, so we want to help our patients understand exactly what they're up against. In this blog, we tackle a tough question and dive deeper into whether or not you can prevent arthritis.
No matter how in shape you are, we’re all at risk for health problems — some are even hardwired into our genetic code. Age, habits, and family history all contribute to the development and progression of disease, making it difficult to absolutely zero out your chances.
So, the short answer is, no, you can’t completely avoid arthritis. Some are fortunate not to be bothered with arthritis with little to no effort, and others have to work hard to keep their joints in tip-top shape.
But it isn’t all bad news. Arthritis may be a common condition (around one in four adults has it), but it isn’t inevitable, and you can play an active role in mitigating your risk.
Here are some practical tips on making arthritis less of a possibility.
Research shows that there is a genetic component to arthritis, especially osteoarthritis. We recommend finding out if anyone in your immediate family had or has arthritis. Knowing ahead of time can help you take steps to protect your joints.
You should also determine if you have other risk factors. Some of the most common contributing factors include age, sex, previous joint injuries, and obesity.
The best arthritis prevention tool you have is movement. A sedentary lifestyle creates stiff joints and weak muscles and may even contribute to excess weight, which can also impact your joints. There’s no need to run a marathon — in fact, running can be harmful to your joints if you aren’t careful — but we do recommend that you stay as active as possible.
Try any activity that gets you moving but is easy on your joints, like yoga, tai chi, swimming, walking, bicycling, gardening, and water aerobics.
Just as important as exercise is diet. Many Americans eat foods that trigger inflammation, which can exacerbate joint problems. A sample of some of the most inflammatory foods includes:
We encourage you to swap these harmful foods for options that actually fight off inflammation, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, as well as lean proteins and legumes. Studies show that the Mediterranean Diet is one of the most effective inflammation-reducing diets.
If you know you’re at risk for arthritis, no symptom should go unchecked. At the first sign of inflammation, pain, and stiffness, make an appointment with Dr. Pandhi to create an action plan.
We offer a wide range of treatments and services to help you prevent the progression of arthritis and reduce your symptoms, including joint injections, platelet-rich plasma therapy, cartilage restoration, sports medicine, ergonomics coaching, and, in the most severe cases, joint replacement surgery.
Arthritis is a progressive disease — once it starts, it only gets worse. We encourage you to start implementing healthy habits today to sidestep joint issues.
If you still have questions about preventing arthritis and want to team up with our expert to keep your joints as healthy as possible, call or click to schedule an appointment with Dr. Pandhi and have an arthritis consultation today.