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Osteoarthritis: Symptoms, Prevention and Home Care

What Is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease that affects around 33 million Americans. It’s most common in people over 65.

It’s caused when cartilage deteriorates where bones meet to form a joint. When the exposed bones rub against each other, this causes pain and stiffness. Osteoarthritis, also called OA, can make movements such as walking and climbing stairs uncomfortable.

What Are the Symptoms?

Symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain, fatigue and inflammation. Your joints may be stiff or painful in the morning, after prolonged times of inactivity, or during use. The most commonly affected areas are the knees, hips and hands.

What Is the Treatment?

Osteoarthritis treatment ranges from diet and activity changes to surgery. Consult your doctor for more information on treatment specific to you.

In general, arthritis can be treated and possibly prevented with the right lifestyle choices. Here are four things that help treat osteoarthritis:

1. Weight loss.

The general recommendation is to maintain a healthy weight or shed extra pounds for the health of your joints. Extra weight puts unneeded stress on joints. Easing that pressure could reduce strain and even decrease pain.

2. Healthy eating.

Eating the right types of food may help. Talk to your doctor. These may include strawberries and pineapple (to decrease inflammation), lots of vegetables, healthy fats (like those in nuts), lean proteins and high-fiber foods. Be aware of what you’re putting into your body.

3. Exercise.

Movement decreases joint stiffness and pain because it produces lubrication for your joints. Arthritis Today suggests 150 minutes of moderate activity a week such as walking, swimming or biking.

4. Supplements.

Your doctor may recommend adding omega-3 fish-oil supplements to your diet to reduce arthritis inflammation. They should have at least 30 percent docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Preferred Care at Home caregivers can help create healthy meals for maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight if necessary. In addition, they can encourage exercise and provide medication reminders, ensuring that we’re giving quality care to our clients who have osteoarthritis.

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