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How to Manage Arthritis

caregiver and stroke helpArthritis  impacts an individual’s daily life in various ways, including how capable he or she is through out their day.

Arthritis leads to various signs and symptoms that can leave a person in pain and feeling fatigue due to the swelling and pain in their joints. This affects their ability to accomplish their daily tasks and will in turn, impact their aptitude levels. An individual is likely to start to feel as though he or she is unable to achieve the goals and everyday jobs that they once could before their diagnosis. This often leads to a decreased quality of life and a sense of frustration during this hectic time in their lives.

How to Manage Arthritis

Learning how to manage arthritis can be challenging, especially if the individual is in the beginning of their diagnosis and are experiencing severe signs and symptoms that are leaving them in pain. Chronic conditions, such as the different types of arthritis, can lead to serious problems that cause an individual to seek out resources to help them manage their pain and their new everyday life. According to the Arthritis Foundation, bouncing back into a new life and a new routine will take time, and learning how to manage arthritis will not happen overnight.

One of the most efficient ways people with arthritis can learn to manage their chronic illness is to find the medication that is best for the pain. After receiving an arthritis diagnosis, an individual likely will speak with his or her medical professional regarding their care plan and the appropriate medications they need in order to maintain a happy and healthy life. Such medications may include pain pills or pills to simply help with the swelling of one’s joints and bones. By staying faithful and true to the prescribed medication plan, an individual with arthritis is giving themselves the best chance to live a fulfilled life, while dealing with the pain and suffering that arthritis causes. Creating a medication plan will allow the individual to stay on track with taking the appropriate dosage of medicine at the appropriate time. It is advised that an individual with arthritis goes over their prescribed plan with their medical professional in great detail before they leave their office to ensure that they are clear on the parameters of their plan.

Individuals who suffer from arthritis may feel as though their joints, bones and body in general is always inflamed and under immense pressure. By maintaining an anti-inflammatory diet, people with arthritis may begin to mitigate their symptoms and even improve their pain and inflammation. So, what is this diet? It’s relatively simple and you may know it as the Mediterranean diet, made up of a diet low in processed foots and rich in fresh fruits & vegetables, as well as lean fish and other nutrient dense foods. This diet not only will help curb any inflammation in the body, but it can improve hear health, blood pressure and lead to weight loss, which ultimately highly effect the amount of impact on a person’s joints. This diet includes:

  • Fish, such as tuna, salmon, anchovies and scallops. This is best for those with rheumatoid arthritis and those who experience a high volume of inflammation, especially in the morning.
  • Nuts and seeds such as pistachios and almonds are not only delicious but great for helping fight inflammation in the body! Nutrition experts suggest eating roughly 1.5 ounces each day, which evens out to a fistful and a half!
  • It’s no secret that fresh fruits and vegetables are good for most people, including those with arthritis! There are different benefits for different types of fruits and vegetables. Leafy greens such as kale and cabbage have been known to be vitamin K-rich and thus reduces inflammation dramatically in the body. On the other hand, citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits have been known to prevent inflammation due to the rich amount of vitamin-C.
  • Whole grains and beans should be eaten in moderation, as they are an excellent source of anti-inflammatory rich foods that are both delicious and nutritious! Both whole grains and beans should be worked into an individual’s diet when they see fit, no more than one time a day.

All individuals that are thinking of switching up his or her diet in order to improve their health should first speak with their medical professional.

It is important to find the diet and routine that works for each individual respectively, as some people may have food sensitivities or allergies that may deter them from following this diet exactly.

Seeking a support system is one of the most important aspects of managing arthritis and living with arthritis. Finding the right support group for managing arthritis can be difficult, but worth the amount of time and energy spent in the end. There are different types of support groups that an individual can seek out including therapies led by medical professionals, online support groups such as Facebook groups and peer led groups. Each one of these will have a different sense of help to offer those with arthritis and will fulfill different needs that those with arthritis has. The Arthritis Foundation has a wonderful connect group for adults that are living with different types of arthritis and provides individuals with the tools they need in order to live a happy and fulfilled life with their arthritis diagnosis, no matter where they are in their journey.

Staying Active

Staying active is also very important for joint health and improving the functionality of an individual’s joints. It is important that before participating in any physical activity, the individual living with arthritis checks with his or her doctor that they are cleared to participate in such exercise. If they are cleared for physical activity and exercise, it is important to remember that this should be low-impact exercise that is joint friendly. Such activities include:

  • Walking
  • Cycling
  • Lifting Weights
  • Yoga
  • Stretching
  • Balance Exercises

If at any point during exercise, the individual suffering from arthritis feels pain, pressure, inflammation or weakness in their body or joints, they are urged to stop immediately and seek out medical advice from a medical professional. Exercise should be something that improves arthritis signs and symptoms, not worsens them. It is imperative to remember that too much exercise could be detrimental to the persons joints and therefore we recommend starting with 20 minutes of exercise each day and work their way up to a longer period of time. Again, please consult with a medical professional before committing to a workout regimen.

On the opposite end of the spectrum from exercise is knowing when to rest and when to take time to allow physical joint pain to heal. Perhaps it is knowing when to spot the signs and symptoms of an arthritis flair up, or perhaps it is resting to prevent a flair up. Either way, it is imperative to know that rest is important and will do the body more good than harm in the long run. Taking a break from physical exercise or simply taking a few hours to check in with your body will be beneficial and will give your body the break that it needs. Rest and rejuvenation will look differently for everyone, as will the answer to certain symptoms of this debilitating disease. Speaking with a medical professional about remedies to joint pain and inflammation can give an individual with arthritis answer that he or she needs and will point them in the right direction on how to relax and rest their joints.

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