Senior Public Enemy: ArthritisOctober 2, 2018
Arthritis is one of the most common ailments in adults in the United States of America and the leading cause of disability in adults.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, nearly 54 million Americans are diagnosed with arthritis every year. By 2040, this figure is expected to inflate up to an estimated 78 million. It is a health concern that can cause immense pain no matter what the age of the person suffering from arthritis is, although it is mostly common in adults of age 65 and old.
An arthritis attack can affect almost any part of a patient’s body without a warning. While some arthritis attacks may simply last a few hours, others can last up to days, weeks and even result in becoming a chronic condition.
What Is Arthritis?
Arthritis is often used as a term to describe joint pain or disease. There are over 100 different types of arthritis and arthritis-related conditions. The most common symptoms that arthritis patients may experience are swelling, pain, stiffness and a reduced range of motion. The experience of these symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe and while some people experience the same amount of pain or discomfort for years; for others, the condition may get worse and eventually become chronic with time.
Some Symptoms of Arthritis In The Elderly
Most seniors are susceptible to getting arthritis. If you or your senior loved one has never had arthritis but are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it may be time to visit your doctor as they may be a sign that you are getting arthritis: joint swelling and stiffness, tenderness or pain upon touching a joint, reduced mobility of a joint or warmth and redness visible on the joint.
A doctor’s appointment is due if you have been experiencing these symptoms for two weeks or more without any sign of the pain lessening. Your doctor might ask you to get an X-ray and some other tests to rule out for any medical complications and to correctly assess if you have arthritis.
Types of Arthritis Common In Seniors
There are different types of arthritis that are common in the elderly and they may require different treatments. Here are a few:
As we age, the cartilage begins to wear and tear. This allows for osteoarthritis to settle in. The cartilage creates a padding between the bones and the joins. When it begins to wear away, it puts a pressure on the joints which leads to the arthritic pain. This pain can result in discomfort while walking, bending down or even while sleeping. This type of arthritis is mostly common in your hands, neck, knees, lower-back and hips.
Gout is one the most painful types of arthritis. It occurs when uric acid forms and settles in the connective tissue sand joint spaces.
People who suffer from gout should try to keep their diet in check as it can be triggered by the consumption of shellfish, liver, peas and anchovies. Gout can also worsen due to obesity and high alcohol intake. It is usually found in the big toe but can also be present in the ankle, wrists and hands.
This type of arthritis occurs due to an infection and can be dealt with antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs as per your doctor’s prescription.
Each type of arthritis has its own treatments which are resultantly more effective but there are a few general treatments for arthritis. To keep it simple, staying active and in the habit of daily exercise is the best way to avoid arthritic pain. Any exercise that requires the movement of your key joints is helpful. Try to include walking, jogging or swimming to prevent joint stiffness.
Another way to avoid arthritis is by including strength building exercises in your routine. Building muscle is a good way to protect your joints. Additionally, try to include exercises that increase your range of motion. Yoga and dancing are good examples of these types of exercises since they increase your mobility as well as help with flexibility.
If you are experiencing arthritic pain, applying heat or cold to the affected area can help alleviate some pain. It may also be helpful to soak in a warm bath. All else aside, eating right and resting well are the most important things to do to keep arthritic pain at bay.
If you are part of an assisted or independent living facility, make use of the recreational activities offered at your facility to stay active and keep your joints moving.
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