Arthritis and Older Adults: Five Facts

May is Arthritis Awareness Month, and it’s an excellent time to explore this common health issue that impacts one in five adults in the U.S. Arthritis can cause chronic pain and is more prevalent in older adults. Here are five facts about arthritis to help you navigate and manage this health condition.

1. There Are Many Types of Arthritis

Arthritis is a complex condition that can affect more than just your hands. There are many different types of arthritis, including:

  • Osteoarthritis happens when cartilage in your joints breaks down over time.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that attacks your joints.
  • Gout, a condition in which uric acid crystals build up in your joints, is also a form of arthritis.
  • Lupus is another broad autoimmune condition that can cause arthritis.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that specifically affects the spine.

If you have started to feel discomfort in your hands, hips, or knees, talk to your provider about whether this could be arthritis. Getting a diagnosis early is the best way to start managing arthritis pain.

Arthritis and Older Adults. Older man holds hand in pain.

2. Lifestyle Factors Impact Your Risk

Older adults have a higher risk of developing arthritis, especially osteoarthritis, but you can make lifestyle changes to minimize the onset of this condition. Taking care of your body by staying physically active is one of the best ways to avoid arthritis. People who have a sedentary lifestyle are more likely to get arthritis at a younger age, and inactivity makes arthritis worse.

Smoking also puts you at risk of arthritis. Stopping smoking and eating a well-balanced diet are vital steps to help you manage your health. Because arthritis can result from joint injuries, protecting yourself from tripping and falling at home and while working is important.

3. Arthritis Is Treatable, Not Curable

There is no cure for arthritis, but effective treatments can be found. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help with flare-ups, but heat and cold therapy are also beneficial. Some people have found good results from transitioning to an anti-inflammatory diet, and alternative treatments such as acupuncture can also be explored.

4. Physical Activity Helps Arthritis

Even though arthritis causes joint pain, it is helpful to be physically active. Arthritis can make you feel like you need to stop moving, which can worsen your pain over time.

Choose a joint-friendly exercise routine such as swimming or walking to minimize impact on your body. Include at least 30 minutes of physical activity in your day.

5. You Can Manage Arthritis

While arthritis is a serious condition, you can manage the pain and other symptoms and continue to live a full and happy life. Tracking your symptoms and knowing what works for you when managing your pain is important. It’s also important to exercise and maintain a healthy weight. Attend regular appointments with your doctor to stay empowered about your health.

Embrace Holistic Arthritis Care in a Community Setting

If you’re considering the transition to senior living or need additional help recovering from an injury or illness, choose a facility centered on holistic care. Schedule a visit to one of our communities to learn more. Discover the difference dignified care makes and start living your best years today.

For help or more information contact us or schedule a visit at a location today.