“Although there is no cure for most types of arthritis, early diagnosis and proper management can greatly improve your quality of life,” said Rebecca Castleton, program manager for the UDOH Arthritis Program.
The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, usually causing joint pain, inflammation, and stiffness. While arthritis can affect anyone, women and those over the age of 45 are at greater risk of developing symptoms. Previous joint injuries, a family history of arthritis, and being overweight also increase your risk of getting arthritis.
Tips to reduce arthritis pain and improve your quality of life include:
- Keep those joints moving. Research shows that low-impact exercises such as walking, bicycling, and swimming can decrease arthritis pain.
- Learn how to manage your arthritis. Free self-management education classes, such as Living Well with Chronic Conditions, are available statewide to help people suffering from arthritis learn techniques for managing pain. To find a class near you, visit http://health.utah.gov/arthritis/workshop_search.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight places more stress on your joints and contributes to joint pain. Losing even 10 pounds can reduce the stress on each knee by up to 40 pounds and the stress on each hip by 30 pounds.
- Talk to your doctor. Early diagnosis and proper management is important, especially for inflammatory types of arthritis. For example, early use of disease-modifying drugs can change the course of rheumatoid arthritis. If you have symptoms of arthritis, talk to your doctor and begin appropriate treatment as soon as possible.
- Protect your joints. Learning how to avoid excess stress on your joints will make doing daily tasks easier. For example, using your forearms or palms to carry your grocery bag instead of your fingers can help ease arthritis pain.
October 12, 2015 is World Arthritis Day, a global initiative bringing people together to raise awareness of issues affecting people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases. Additional information on World Arthritis Day is available at http://worldarthritisday.org.
For more information about managing your arthritis, including a list of arthritis exercise and self-management classes across the state, visit http://health.utah.gov/arthritis/classes.
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Utah Arthritis Program
(o) 801-538-9340 (m) 253-503-9755