5 ways to prevent osteoarthritis from hitting you or your loved ones

Osteoarthritis has become common across all age groups. That’s why it is essential to know all about its symptoms, causes, and ways to prevent it.
ice pack for joint pain
Ice packs are great to get relief from pain due to osteoarthritis. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Veerendra Mudnoor Updated: 30 Oct 2023, 13:45 pm IST
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While friction may polish gems, it sure does not do much for our bones. The demands of everyday activity cause friction in our joints that affect our bones. Eventually, this tension leads to inflammation or degeneration of joints, which is commonly known as arthritis. Those that suffer from this condition may experience a varied range of symptoms, some of which are: joint pain, stiffness, redness, warmth, swelling, and an evident decline in the range of motion in the affected joints. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which strikes areas such as one’s hands, knees, hips, and spine. 

Although osteoarthritis is prevalent among the elder population, in the recent past it has become common among the 25-40 demographic. According to the Indian Institute of Medical Sciences, this is strongly related to vitamin D deficiency.

Several factors influence the development of arthritis; they may be genetic factors, gender, or even weight orientation. 

What are some of the common symptoms of osteoarthritis?

Pain and stiffness in the afflicted joints are the most common symptoms of osteoarthritis. The discomfort is known to worsen on exertion.  The joints may feel stiff after a period of rest, but this usually resolves on resuming movement. Normally, people do spot swelling in the affected areas too. 

Other common afflictions are loss of flexibility and the formation of bone spurs. Symptoms for osteoarthritis can change for no apparent reason. Sometimes, one may find that the symptoms vary depending on the sort of activities one may be indulging in.

Arthritis can interfere with your lifestyle. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Any causes of osteoarthritis to keep in mind?

Aberration leads to erosion of our bones, which in turn restricts mobility, to prevent this.  The human body has its defense mechanism, known as the cartilage tissue. Cartilage cushions at the ends of the bones allow for nearly frictionless joint mobility, but progressive damage to this tissue leads to pain and a limited range of motion. The effect of wear and strain may accumulate over time or be accelerated by a joint injury or illness.

Osteoarthritis also affects the bones, as well as the connective tissues that connect muscle to bone, and hold the joint together. The joint lining may become inflamed and swollen, if the cartilage in the joint is significantly damaged.

Family genetics also play an important role. If the family has a history of this affliction, there is a possibility that the child can suffer from the same since birth.

What are some ways in which osteoarthritis can be prevented?
1. Consumption of fish

Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. This polyunsaturated fat has a number of health benefits. Its ability to reduce inflammation in the body is vastly beneficial to those who suffer from osteoarthritis. Furthermore, consumption of fish reduces the chances of developing osteoarthritis. Eating omega-3-rich fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, and sardines twice a week is recommended.

2. Control your weight

Weight-bearing joints such as the hips and knees are strained by extra pounds. The pressure experienced by hip and knee joints with each pound gained is exponential. Overweight women are about four times more likely than healthy-weight women to develop knee osteoarthritis. Controlled weight and healthy diet can help in numerous ways to reduce any affliction, due to ailments.

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Keeping an eye on your weight and exercise routine could do wonders! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
3. Exercise regularly

Exercising helps to strengthen muscles. When the muscles are stronger, they can help share the strain of weight on the joints. This helps to keep them stable and protect them from further deterioration. Alternate aerobic activities like walking or swimming, stretching with strengthening exercises can also prove to be beneficial to keep the flexibility and range of motion in check.

4. Control blood sugar levels

Diabetes is known to be a significant risk factor for developing osteoarthritis. Higher levels of glucose in the blood can speed up the formation of molecules stiffening the cartilage. Regulating glucose levels is beneficial in order to prevent osteoarthritis. Consumption of sugar is commonly known to increase inflammation that can accelerate cartilage loss.

5. Pay heed to pain

If the joint pain lasts for one to two hours post-workout or exertion, it is essential to rest the joint. The use of a hot and cool pack helps to relieve pain. If the frequency of the pain persists, it would be beneficial to consider getting an assessment by a physical therapist to learn how to best protect your joints.

The last words

In case, one is experiencing any of the possible signs of osteoarthritis, consultation with an expert is recommended. There are several surgical repairs like arthroscopy, cartilage repair, osteotomy, and knee arthroplasty to help any individual recover from the health condition. 

Consultation with a medical expert will help any individual understand the right surgical procedure, depending upon the intensity of the condition. 

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About the Author

Dr Veerendra Mudnoor, Orthopaedics and Joint Replacement Surgeon, Apollo Spectra Hospital Kondapur, Hyderabad ...Read More

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