If you thought that osteoarthritis is something inevitable, you are wrong. Here are some easy ways to minimize the risk of developing the condition.
There are around 100 different types of arthritis, out of which osteoarthritis is the most common one and affects millions of people all over the world. This joint disease primarily affects the cartilage in your body, which is the slippery tissue that covers the ends of the bones in your joints, and also acts as a protective cushion. When this cartilage breaks down or wears away, two bones can rub against each other and result in pain, swelling, stiffness, and difficulty in movement. Over time, the joint may also lose its original shape and lead to further health problems.
Being affected with this slow, degenerative condition can have a strong effect on your personal and professional life. Although osteoarthritis can damage any of the joints in your body, it most commonly affects the joints in your knees, hands, hips, and spine. The symptoms of this disorder are usually slow to develop, and worsen with time. There may be various signs and symptoms that signal the onset of osteoarthritis, and these include pain in the joints when you move, stiffness, tenderness, and loss of flexibility in the affected joints. In some cases, people with this disease can experience an extra lump-like bone growth around the affected joints (bone spurs) and even a sensation of grating in the particular joint.
The risk factors of osteoarthritis include genetics, older age, joint injuries, bone deformities, obesity, and other rheumatic diseases. Although you cannot completely prevent this disease from affecting you, it is possible to reduce the risk factors for developing osteoarthritis or delay its onset with some simple lifestyle changes and healthy habits. There is no cure for this condition, but prevention can be your best bet. Here’s how you can lower your risk factors or slow down the progress of osteoarthritis.
Being overweight is one of the biggest risk factors for developing osteoarthritis. Any extra weight puts additional pressure on your joints, especially the hip, knees, and ankles. This increases the strain on your joints, making you more likely to get affected by the condition. If you are thinking that you don’t need to lose weight as you have just a few extra pounds, think again! Every pound you gain adds four pounds of stress to the knees and amplifies pressure on your hips six times over. After a while, this extra pressure breaks down the cartilage that keeps your joints protected.
However, it is not only about the physical strain that is added to the joints due to being overweight. The fat tissue in your body produces cytokines, which are proteins that promote inflammation in your entire body. These cytokines destroy the tissue in your joints as they change the function of cartilage cells. When you put on excess weight, more of these destructive proteins are produced and released by your body, thereby posing a bigger risk. But there’s no need to panic and rush to lose weight in a jiffy; seek help from a professional to work out a suitable plan and maintain your ideal body weight. Losing even a few pounds can minimize pressure and inflammation of your joints, and bring down the risk of developing osteoarthritis by half.
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