What is Arthritis?
Arthritis and chronic joint symptoms affect 70 million people in the U.S, or about one of every three adults.
There are over 100 types of arthritis and only a doctor can determine if you have arthritis and what type. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to help slow or prevent damage to joints that can occur during the first few years for several types.
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Arthritis and other rheumatic conditions include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, gout, bursitis, rheumatic fever, Lyme arthritis, carpal tunnel disease and other disorders
Women’s bones need to stay strong as they get older. Unfortunately, millions of women experience limited mobility from arthritis. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States. Building strong bones during childhood and adolescence is the best way to prevent weak bones, but no matter how old you are it’s never too late to start.
What Causes Arthritis?
Anyone can have arthritis. Men and women of all ages and even children can have arthritis. Some people are more likely than others to get arthritis.
- Age is one of the strongest risk factors associated with arthritis. In the United States alone, arthritis affects almost 80% of those 65 years of age and older.
- Gender. After age 45, arthritis is more common in women. Joints in women are more likely to be out of line than those in men.
- Obesity. Obese people are more likely to develop arthritis in the knees and other supporting joints.
- Injury or Joint Overuse (sports stress). Repeated injury or overuse of a certain joint increases the risk of developing arthritis.
- Smoking. Smokers have an elevated risk of Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Family History. Certain genes are known to be associated with a higher risk of some types of arthritis.
5 Ways to Prevent Arthritis
Steps You Can Take for maintaining your bones healthy and minimizing risk of getting arthritis are:
- Be physically active. An active lifestyle can help decrease the risk of fractures and keep your joints flexible. It can improve your ability to do daily activities and improve your overall health and fitness. Aim to do weight-bearing activities like walking, dancing, climbing stairs, or using weights at the gym.
- Prevent falls and avoid injuries. Reduce your risk of falling by making your home safer. For example, use a rubber bath mat in the shower and tub. Keep your floors free from clutter.
- Maintain your optimum body weight. The more excess weight you have, the more pressure you put on your joints and the faster they wear out.
- Get enough calcium and vitamin D. Both are important for strong bones. Be sure to talk with your health care provider about calcium and Vitamin D in your diet.
- Stay hydrated. Keep your joint cartilage healthy by drinking 6 to 8 cups of water throughout the day.
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