More than one in five adults in the United States have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis, and that number is increasing. With arthritis statistics on the rise, many people are asking: Can you prevent arthritis?
Fortunately, there are lots of ways to keep arthritic joint pain at bay without turning to medication. You can reduce your risk of arthritis naturally, and if you already have arthritis, you can prevent the disease from getting worse.
If you’re worried about developing arthritis, this article is for you. Keep reading to learn the natural ways that you can lower your arthritis risk.
Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Arthritis is an inflammatory disease. There are various kinds of arthritis with different causes, but they all involve inflammation in your joints. This leads to the heat, redness, swelling, and joint pain of arthritis.
Inflammation is part of your immune system’s natural response to keep out invaders. However, unhealthy lifestyle factors can keep your immune system working overtime, which leads to too much inflammation.
Chronic metabolic inflammation plays a role in many other chronic diseases as well, including:
- Cardiac disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
One of the best ways to prevent these inflammatory diseases is through your diet. Anti-inflammatory foods reduce your risk of developing arthritis and boost your overall health.
Best Foods for Arthritis Prevention
Many foods have been proven to reduce inflammation. To reduce your arthritis risk, fill your diet with anti-inflammatory foods, including:
- Fatty fish, including salmon and mackerel
- Nuts (especially walnuts)
Steer clear of foods that aggravate your body’s inflammatory response. Inflammatory foods include refined sugar, refined carbohydrates (like pasta and white bread), red meat, fried foods, and sweetened beverages.
Smoking carries a well-known cluster of health risks, but you may not know that it increases your arthritis risk as well.
Smoking may contribute to the breakdown of cartilage in joints. Since it increases carbon monoxide levels in the bloodstream, it may also make it harder for your body to heal arthritic damage to joints.
Whatever the cause, research has shown that smokers who have arthritis have worse arthritis symptoms, more joint pain, and more joint damage than those who don’t smoke. Smokers are more likely to develop arthritis early and be more debilitated by it.
Smoking also makes it harder to treat arthritis if you do develop it. People with advanced arthritis may need surgeries like hip and knee replacements, and those surgeries have lower success rates for smokers than for non-smokers.
Smoking makes it more likely for you to develop arthritis and makes arthritis harder to treat. That’s why quitting (or avoiding) smoking is key to arthritis prevention.
One of the best ways to prevent arthritis from developing is to keep your joints healthy.
Regular exercise keeps the synovial fluid flowing so your joints stay healthy. It also increases bone strength so that your joints are harder to break down.
You don’t have to become a bodybuilder overnight to prevent arthritis. Start with gentle exercises like walking and stretching, then increase your exercise as you are able.
Focus on stretching and range-of-motion exercises in joints that are susceptible to arthritis. Incorporate exercises like arm circles, shoulder rolls, hip swivels, and knee lifts. This will keeps your major joints from getting stiff.
Exercise and physiotherapy can even prevent arthritis in hands and other small joints. Use hand exercises to keep your joints supple. Don’t forget to stretch your hands and arms to prevent stiffness — this keeps them limber and prevents the joints from seizing.
Injuring your joints can lead to arthritis, so take steps to reduce your risk of joint injury.
If your job involves heavy lifting, learn safe lifting techniques so that you don’t injure yourself. Take precautions during exercise and sports to avoid damaging your joints.
Use good posture at all times, especially when sitting at a desk for long periods of time. If you spend lots of time typing or writing, make sure your hands are properly aligned and stretch your hands frequently.
Natural Arthritis Remedies
Even with the best arthritis prevention, you may develop arthritis pain as you age.
Don’t worry — developing arthritis doesn’t mean that you have to rely on drugs to manage your pain. You can use natural means to handle your arthritis and even reduce your symptoms.
A healthy, anti-inflammatory diet can prevent arthritis in the first place, but it can do more than that. Functional nutritional therapy is a natural remedy for arthritis pain as well.
If you are already noticing the symptoms of arthritis, it’s not too late for nutritional therapy. It can still reduce your joint pain and reduce the risk of your arthritis getting worse.
When it comes to exercise, arthritis causes a vicious cycle.
Joint pain gets in the way of physical activity. However, insufficient exercise leads to carrying extra weight, which puts more strain on your joints. Not only that, but low exercise levels contribute to common arthritis comorbidities like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Break the cycle by doing joint-friendly exercises like swimming, biking, or walking. Stay as active as you can. This will keep you healthier overall and prevent your arthritis from worsening.
Can You Prevent Arthritis?
With so many lifestyle-related chronic diseases on the rise, we all want to know: Can you prevent arthritis?
Thankfully, you can take lots of steps to reduce your arthritis risk. With these lifestyle tips, you can reduce your risk of developing chronic arthritis as you age. As a bonus, these tips will improve your overall health, so your whole body will benefit from preventing arthritis!
Were these tips helpful? If so, don’t forget to check out the rest of our blog, where you’ll find more tips on lifestyle, health, and so much more!
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