How to Reduce Your Risk of Arthritis
Even if you can’t prevent it, you might be able to lower your chances of developing some forms of arthritis.
The fact is, there is no sure way to prevent arthritis. But you can help reduce your risk and delay the potential onset of certain types of arthritis. If you have healthy joints right now, do all you can now to maintain mobility and function and avoid the pain and disability associated with arthritis.
There are more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions, and each has associated risk factors, individual features, behaviors and circumstances.
Some risk factors are not modifiable, and there really isn’t anything you you can do about them. Being female and having a family history of arthritis (genetic profile) are two examples of factors that make people more likely — but not certain — to get some types of arthritis.
Risk factors that are considered modifiable are the behaviors and circumstances that can be changed in order to reduce risk, delay onset or even prevent arthritis. A few examples of modifiable risk factors for certain types of arthritis and related conditions:
- Osteoarthritis: Maintain a healthy weight.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: Do not smoke.
- Gout: Eat a healthful diet that’s low in sugar, alcohol and purines.
Avoiding sports injuries by having proper equipment, adequate training and safe play can prevent ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tears that often lead to osteoarthritis (OA) in a few years.
Because scientists don’t fully understand the causes or mechanisms behind these diseases, true prevention may not be possible. However, there is hope that someday some or all types of arthritis and related conditions could be prevented.
The breakthroughs may be closer than they seem. Consider this: Many types of arthritis are thought to result from a combination of genetic predisposition and an environmental trigger, such as a virus or toxin. Discovery of the trigger for a type of arthritis may be the key to preventing it, even in someone with genetic risk.
Research that is going on today may open the door to treatments and prevention measures to reduce or even eliminate some forms of arthritis in the future.
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