Impacting 30 million people within the United States alone, osteoarthritis is a debilitating and painful condition that results due to the wearing away of cartilage, leading to friction within the joints as unprotected bones rub against each other. While it can result in almost any joint, it is most common in the hands, hips, knees, lower back, and neck.
Given that it is so prevalent, it is important for everyone to know the basic fundamentals of osteoarthritis and what you should do if you or a person you love is diagnosed. The following tips on how to manage arthritis from Abby Senior Care, providers of in home care services in Denver, CO and nearby communities, can help.
- What causes osteoarthritis? While a precise cause is unidentified, it generally strikes seniors and those whose bodies aren’t able to repair joint tissue.
- Am I at risk? There are specific risk factors:
- Age (most common in those over age 40)
- Trauma or overuse of a joint
- Gender (more common in females than males)
- Occupation (people performing repetitive tasks)
- Certain health conditions (such as other forms of arthritis, joint or cartilage abnormalities, misalignment associated with ankle, knee, or hip, bone diseases)
- What are the symptoms? Initially, there may be no obvious symptoms, but as osteoarthritis progresses, signs might include stiffness, swelling, and pain that is more serious when the joint has been at rest for some time, as well as soreness, warmth, difficulty moving the joint, and/or a cracking sound when the joint is moved.
- How will the physician diagnose osteoarthritis? The doctor’s assessment will include tests to eliminate other potential causes for the pain and swelling inherent in osteoarthritis, including x-rays, MRIs, blood and joint fluid tests.
- What treatment options are available? Even though there’s no cure or treatment to undo the damage attributable to osteoarthritis, symptoms are usually reduced through pain medications, physical therapy and exercise, lifestyle adjustments, assistive devices, and/or surgery.
- Can supplements help? Even though some research reports have suggested that people with insufficient intake of vitamins C, D and K have a higher likelihood of being diagnosed with osteoarthritis, the American College of Rheumatology has determined that using supplements of these vitamins, as well as calcium and omega-3 fatty acids, has not been confirmed to be safe or effective. It is imperative that you always check with your doctor before taking any supplements.
- Assistance with light housework, laundry, and various other activities which can be challenging or cause pain
- Planning and preparing healthy, nutritious meals
- Providing motivation and encouragement to take part in doctor-recommended exercises
- Supplying transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments and procedures
- Picking up prescriptions, grocery shopping, and running other errands
- And many more
Contact us at 303-699-8840 for more helpful resources on how to manage osteoarthritis or any other condition typical to aging, and to request a free in-home consultation for additional details on how our professional, fully trained and knowledgeable care staff can improve quality of life for an older adult you love.