About 1 in 4 Americans has arthritis. That’s millions of people suffering from chronic pain.
“Arthritis” literally means joint inflammation. Although the term arthritis is often used to refer to any disorder that affects the joints, joint inflammation is actually a symptom or sign of an underlying issue. Problems from arthritis frequently include pain, redness, heat, and swelling in your joints.
Joints are places where two bones meet, such as your elbow or knee.
Arthritis is caused by inflammation of the joints. Osteoarthritis usually comes with age and most often affects the fingers, knees, and hips. Sometimes osteoarthritis follows a joint injury. Even an injury from decades earlier can develop into arthritis in that joint much later in life.
Although there are factors that can increase your risk for arthritis – such as age, genetics, and your gender – there are steps you can take to prevent the onset or even reduce inflammation.
Take Off the Weight
People who are overweight or obese have a greater risk for osteoarthritis. Weight-bearing joints like the hips, knees and feet have additional pressure and stress. By eating healthily and remaining physically active, you can reduce and maintain a healthy weight and relieve some of the stress on your body.
Healthy dietary changes include:
- Proteins such as seafood, poultry and other lean meats, and legumes like beans and peas.
- Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Foods low in sugars, sodium, saturated or trans fats, and cholesterol.
Walking, yoga and tai chi are all excellent forms of physical activity worth considering. Speak with your doctor about what joint-friendly exercises – including strength-building and low-impact aerobics – are best for you.
Just like so many other aspects of your health, smoking is detrimental to your joints. Smoking increases the risk for and can worsen arthritis. Smoking also makes it harder to stay active and can lead to additional health issues.
Studies on supplements have been mixed, but many doctors recommend Glucosamine and chondroitin, Vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are components of cartilage, the substance that cushions the joints. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with the development of osteoarthritis, so adding a supplement can ensure you get a daily intake. Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties. Eating fatty fish like salmon and mackerel two or more days a week or adding a supplement can help.
Losing weight, quitting smoking, and making overall lifestyle changes aren’t easy, but it’s worth it for your joints and overall health. But even if you have difficulty making these changes, you won’t have difficulty qualifying for the Whole Life policy available from ASBA. As long as you’re between 45-85, you’re guaranteed acceptance! No tests, no exams – and you won’t ever be dropped as long as premiums are paid. Even joining is easy: you can purchase your policy online!