Slowing Osteoarthritis Progression
Learn about healthy lifestyle choices that can help ease joint pain and keep OA from getting worse.
Osteoarthritis (OA) was once considered a disorder in which joints simply wore out – the unavoidable result of a long and active life. But research has shown that OA is a complex process with many causes. It is not an inevitable part of aging experts say, but rather the result of a combination of factors, many of which can be modified or prevented. Here are doctor recommendations to reduce the risk of OA or delay its onset.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
But mechanical stress is not the only problem. Fat tissue produces proteins called cytokines that promote inflammation throughout the body. In the joints, cytokines destroy tissue by altering the function of cartilage cells. When you gain weight, your body makes and releases more of these destructive proteins. Unless you are very overweight, losing even a few pounds can reduce joint stress and inflammation.
Control Blood Sugar
You don't have to join a gym or have a formal workout plan to benefit. Walking, gardening – even scrubbing floors – count. But the greatest results come with a consistent and progressive exercise program adjusted for your age, fitness level and the activities you enjoy most.
No matter what type of exercise you choose, listen to your body. If you have pain after a workout that persists more than an hour or two, do less next time and take more breaks. To avoid injury, go slow until you know how your body reacts to a new activity and don't repeat the same exercise every day.
Choose a Healthy Lifestyle
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, the best defense against any disease, including OA, is a healthy lifestyle. Diet, exercise, sleep, managing stress and whether you smoke, or drink can have a tremendous influence on overall health, and the health of your joints.
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