Do you suffer from the pain and stiffness of arthritis? If so, then you know that arthritis can keep you from performing even the simplest task . . . or at least a task that used to be simple. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. In fact, you’re just one of millions of arthritis sufferers in the United States! What’s even more disturbing? Arthritis is most definitely on the rise in the United States and there are no signs of it slowing down. So what can be expected in the years to come? And can you prevent arthritis from affecting you? Let’s identify ways to reduce your risk . . .
Do you suffer from the pain and stiffness of arthritis? If so, then you know that arthritis can keep you from performing even the simplest task . . . or at least a task that used to be simple. For some, even opening a can of soup or turning a door knob can cause discomfort and pain.
If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. In fact, you’re just one of millions of arthritis sufferers in the United States!
A recent report indicates that more than 46 million individuals in the U.S. (over 21 percent) say they have been diagnosed by a physician with arthritis, gout, lupus or fibromyalgia. In addition, a staggering 8 percent of Americans (more than 17 million people) report that joint symptoms and/or arthritis keep them from participating in certain activities. These figures were collected from the Center for Disease Control national surveys conducted during the time period 2003 to 2006.
What’s even more disturbing? Arthritis is most definitely on the rise in the United States and there are no signs of it slowing down. So what can be expected in the years to come? And can you prevent arthritis from affecting you? Let’s take a closer look . . .
The surveys that were conducted from 2003 to 2006 proved that arthritis figures have been on the rise since 2002. In 2002, approximately 43 million individuals had been diagnosed by a doctor with arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia or gout and just fewer than eight percent claimed arthritis and/or joint problems limited their activities.
The Center for Disease Control predicts by 2030, arthritis will affect 67 million people in the United States. These numbers were recently published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Report.
Who is affected?
Arthritis is most common among: women, seniors, Caucasians (compared with African-Amercians and Latinos), people who are overweight or obese and people who live sedentary lifestyles. People with less education and people who are obese or inactive were most prone to say arthritis limits their physical movement and activities.
Exactly what can you do to cut your risk of developing arthritis? Get moving! This is the answer given by most physicians as the quickest, best way to reduce your risk of developing arthritis.
Dropping those extra pounds is also an important component of keeping your risk level low. For example, 31 percent of obese individuals and 21 percent of overweight (but not considered obese) individuals said they had been diagnosed with arthritis – this is compared with only 16 percent of people that were of average or lower than average weight.
One-quarter of those who said they were not active physically also said they had doctor-diagnosed arthritis, compared with a little less than 20 percent of people who have remained physically active. The surveys did not directly test weight loss or physical activity as ways to prevent arthritis, but other studies certainly have.
It makes sense that losing weight and staying active will lower your risk. Extra weight puts more stress on joints. Additionally, joints that get little use tend to feel more stiff and painful than if they are used regularly.
No one is recommending that you pound your joints with outrageous exercise and you definitely should not sacrifice nutrition to drop the extra pounds. As a matter of fact, there is substantial proof that eating a well-balanced diet, high in green, leafy vegetables can really help lower your risk. So, check with a doctor before beginning a new diet or exercise program.
If you have been diagnosed with arthritis already, there are ways to deal with your pain and inflammation. For instance, medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen can relieve symptoms, as can therapeutic stretching and warm baths. Also, consider these supplements:
Rosehip: Research out of Denmark has found that rosehip may have anti-inflammatory and painkilling effects. In one study at Copenhagen University, 94 people with osteoarthritis were given either a rosehip supplement or a placebo. After three weeks, those taking the real supplement had significantly less pain than the people taking the placebo, and needed to take fewer ordinary painkillers to manage their remaining pain. After three months, they also reported a significant decrease in joint stiffness. The active ingredient in the rosehip supplement—a fatty acid called a galacto-lipid—has no known side effects.
CH-Alpha: In a German study, athletes with joint pain took CH-Alpha, a liquid supplement containing collagen hydrolysate, a collection of proteins and amino acids (the building blocks necessary for joint health). After taking CH-Alpha, the athletes had significant improvements in mobility and experienced reduced pain upon exertion or movement.
Bromelain: An herb with anti-inflammatory properties, bromelian has been shown to be beneficial for sufferers of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Chondroitin: While controversial since formal medical studies have questioned its effectiveness, chondroitin is believed to draw fluid into the cartilage, making joints more flexible as a result. It is often combined with glucosamine in pill form.
Hylauronic Acid: A natural substance found throughout the body, particularly in the fluid surrounding the joints, Hylauronic Acid has been shown to decrease with age. HA supplements may help relieve symptoms related to osteoarthritis.
Omega-3s: These essential fatty acids, commonly found in fatty fish, have been shown to help reduce inflammation.
Ginger: Whether brewed in teas or taken in pill form, ginger has long been appreciated for its anti-inflammatory effects.
Turmeric: A savory spice hailed for its pain-relieving properties and inflammation relief.
Boswellia: Long used in ayurvedic medicine, this fragrant herb has been used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
With these helpful arthritis solutions, you can be on your way to a long, healthy and pain-free life!