• Gender. More women than men tend to develop arthritis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 60 percent of individuals with arthritis are women. However, men are more likely to have gout, which is sudden and acute joint pain.
• Age. The older you are, the greater your chance is for developing arthritis.
• History of joint injury. If you injured one or more joints in the past, you are more likely to have arthritis in that joint in the future. These injuries could be related to sports or jobs that require excessive movement or knee bending.
• Excess weight. People who are overweight and obese put more stress on their weight-bearing joints. In effect, this makes them more susceptible to arthritis.
4. Prevention and Management. Fortunately, there are lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent or manage arthritis.
• Lose weight. If you are carrying extra pounds, losing weight can help reduce stress on your joints. Not to mention that obesity is a leading cause of multiple other diseases and conditions.
• Get moving. Physical activity helps to improve joint flexibility, as well as maintain an ideal weight. Water-related activities are good forms of low-impact exercise, keeping pressure off your joints.
• Use supportive devices. Braces, walkers and special seats are just a few examples of joint-friendly ways to assist you in your daily life, especially if you already have arthritis.
• Apply hot and cold packs. Looking for arthritis relief? Hot and cold packs may help relieve arthritis symptoms.
• Prevent falls. Avoid damaging your joints and other body parts from falls by stretching in the morning, checking your vision, reviewing medications with your doctor, and removing slip and fall hazards from your home. Arthritis can be a literal pain in various joints in the body. Learning about the condition and ways to prevent it can help to keep you arthritis free or help you manage it better. Reducing the aches and pains of arthritis can do wonders for your well-being.
(Usha Kalava, M.B.B.S., is an internal medicine physician at Mayo Clinic Health System. For more information, please go to mayoclinichealthsystem.org. Health & Fitness coverage is supported by Mayo Clinic Health System, preserving the health and well-being of southern Minnesota communities.)