What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a condition in which inflammation in one or multiple joints cause pain and discomfort. There are different types of arthritis but the most common types or forms of arthritis are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. There are a variety of factors or reasons that contribute to the development and onset of arthritis but there are changes you can make in your lifestyle and in your nutrition that can help you ease the discomfort associated with arthritis. Today we are going to dig deep into understanding these two forms of arthritis and how to properly manage the symptoms associated with them.

Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis both share some common signs and symptoms that include pain in the affected joints, stiffness, swelling, redness, and decreased range of motion with symptoms being experienced and felt most commonly in the mornings. Some common complications that both of these conditions share are decreased mobility that can interfere with the use of hands and impair the ability to walk. This also can lead to deformities in the joints to present themselves.  Each of these conditions has unique signs and symptoms as well as unique factors that contribute to their onset.

Osteoarthritis

This form of arthritis is a result of the normal wear and tear of the cartilage that surrounds the joints. Factors that increase the risk or development of arthritis include family history, chronological age, gender, prior joint injury and being obese or overweight.

 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

The development or cause of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is attributed to dysfunction of the immune system which causes damage to the synovium tissue which provides nutrition and nourishment for the cartilage. With RA the immune system begins to attack the healthy synovium tissue causing wear and tear. Some of the symptoms associated with RA are fatigue due to low-grade inflammation presenting itself throughout the body, decreased appetite, compromised immunity, anemia, and joint deformity. Risk factors contributing to RA are chronological age, family history, gender, being overweight, environmental exposure to a toxic chemical or infection, as well as smoking.

 

While there is no sure and certain way to prevent the development and onset of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis there are a variety of lifestyle modifications that help decrease your risk as well as aid in helping you to manage symptoms and decrease pain and discomfort.

 

Discussing your risk factors and symptoms with your healthcare professional and following any recommendations and modifications they are advising you to make can help in decreasing symptoms. In some cases, you may need medication to aid in properly helping you to manage your pain and inflammation. Working with your healthcare professional and keeping the lines of communication open by letting them know what’s working and what isn’t working is a great way to make sure that changes are made to your treatment plan if needed.

 

Following a modified fitness regimen that includes a variety of low-impact activities is also helpful in managing arthritis. Activities such as swimming and low- impact resistance based exercises that include resistance bands and body weight is a great alternative to heavy strength based workouts that can place an excessive amount of weight and pressure on your joints. You can achieve a safe and effective workout this way.

 

Adjusting your dietary needs to focus on increasing the number of anti-inflammatory foods and spices such as garlic, turmeric, berries, and green leafy vegetables. Consume a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants and essential nutrients. Cutting back on pro-inflammatory foods such as trans fats, refined and processed foods, and fried foods. Increase the amount of whole and minimally processed foods that you consume.

 

Specific lifestyle factors such as smoking and being overweight are key factors that are risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis and not maintaining a healthy body weight is also a risk factor for osteoarthritis. Quitting smoking and losing weight and managing a healthy weight can be positive changes to make to your health that can have an impact on your arthritis pain.

 

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