What to Know About Arthritis as You Age

Managing Your Arthritis Diagnosis for the Future

Tips and Resources in Light of Arthritis Awareness Month

man suffering pain in hand close up

Whether or not you or a loved one have been diagnosed with arthritis, May—which is Arthritis Awareness Month—is a good time to familiarize yourself with the disease and the resources that exist for the community, in particular the Arthritis Foundation.

If you have been diagnosed with arthritis, you may have questions about how to manage your condition as you age. Knowledge empowers you to make informed decisions about managing your condition. We strongly recommend seeing your healthcare provider on a regular basis and for guidance tailored to your unique situation. These are our general recommendations:

Stay Active.
Regular physical activity is crucial for managing arthritis. Focus on exercises that improve flexibility, strength, and range of motion. Low-impact activities like walking, swimming, or tai chi can be beneficial without putting excessive strain on joints.

Maintain a Healthy Weight.
Excess weight can exacerbate arthritis symptoms, especially in weight-bearing joints like knees and hips. Strive for healthy eating and follow a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins to help manage weight and support overall health.

Manage Pain.
Work with your healthcare provider to develop a pain management plan that may include medications, topical treatments, or complementary therapies like acupuncture or massage. Heat and cold therapy can also provide relief for sore joints.

Adapt Your Environment.
Make modifications to your home and workspace to reduce strain on your joints. Use assistive devices such as jar openers, grab bars, or ergonomic tools to make daily tasks easier and more comfortable.

Practice Good Posture.
Maintain proper posture when sitting, standing, and lifting objects. Poor posture can increase joint stress and contribute to pain and stiffness.

Stay Engaged Socially.
Don’t let arthritis limit your social interactions. Stay connected with friends, family, and support groups, and have an engagement plan. Social engagement can boost mood, reduce stress, and provide emotional support.

Prioritize Rest and Relaxation.
Balancing activity with rest is important. Listen to your body and take breaks when needed. Quality sleep is also crucial for overall health and pain management.

Follow Treatment Plans.
Be consistent with your prescribed treatments, whether it’s medication, physical therapy, or lifestyle modifications. Communicate openly with your healthcare team about any concerns or changes in your condition.

Stay Positive.
Arthritis can be challenging, but maintaining a positive attitude and seeking support from loved ones or counselors can help you cope with the physical and emotional aspects of the condition.

By taking proactive steps and managing arthritis effectively, older adults can lead fulfilling and active lives while minimizing the impact of arthritis on daily activities and overall well-being.

 

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