What is Arthritis?

by Lois Etienne on July 29, 2011

in Senior Health and Safety

The term arthritis encompasses over 100 conditions that primarily affect a body’s joints. Some of the more familiar forms or related conditions include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, septic arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia and gout.

Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, stems from the deterioration of a joint’s cartilage, causing stiffness, pain and loss of movement. Also called “knee arthritis” or “hip arthritis,” osteoarthritis affects joints of the body that receive the most stress, namely the knees, hips and hands.

Rheumatoid arthritis, another prevalent form, is a type of inflammatory arthritis and an autoimmune disease. It attacks the lining of joints, producing pain, fluid build-up and inflammation.

Medication can help treat the symptoms, but adopting certain lifestyle changes can provide additional benefits to the way people live with arthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation®, regular moderate exercise including stretching, strength training, and aerobics can decrease fatigue, improve strength and flexibility, and help you feel better overall. The foundation also recommends eating a balanced diet incorporating a wide variety of vitamins and nutrients, which can help reduce arthritis symptoms or have preventative effects. If left untreated, arthritis can lead to permanent joint damage and disability.

Loss of mobility due to arthritis doesn’t have to mean loss of independence. Support from a caregiver can support you or your loved one with arthritis to reduce stress, fatigue, over-exertion and other factors that worsen the pain. Home Instead Senior Care has over 65,000 CAREGivers. Go to www.homeinstead.com for more information.

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