How does arthritis affect your daily life?
Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints that can result in pain, swelling, stiffness and inability to move or use the joint normally.
Arthritis most commonly affects the knees, hips, spine, and hands. Once the joint cartilage is damaged, the change is irreversible.
Hence, it is prudent to protect the joints from cartilage damage from an early age. Here’s what women can do to reduce their risk of arthritis:
1. Maintain healthy body weight
The extra kilos can cause the joints to wear out faster by placing an additional physical load on them. Every extra kilo of body weight puts an extra load of four to six kilos on the knee joint, depending on the activity involved. Furthermore, the excess fat tissue also causes joint damage by secreting specific chemicals which destroy the cartilage. A healthy body weight is one where the body mass index (BMI) is between 18.5 and 24.9.
2. Avoid smoking
Smoking can increase the risk of cartilage damage and worsen arthritis. It can make treating some forms of arthritis less effective and increase the risk of complications during surgery. Giving up smoking can help protect you from arthritis in more ways than you can imagine.
3. Exercise regularly
Performing healthy exercises regularly can help maintain joint strength and flexibility. It can also help protect the cartilage. One must exercise for half an hour every day and 3-4 times per week. Examples of healthy exercises include walking, cycling, and swimming. Running is also a good exercise for young and healthy women. However, if you already have knee pain or arthritis, it is advisable to avoid running.
4. Maintain a healthy posture
A bad posture, especially for prolonged periods, puts an abnormally excessive load on the joints causing them to wear out faster. A healthy alignment of all the body joints during standing, sitting, and walking can protect you from arthritis.
5. Avoid high heels
Wearing high heels results in an unphysiological posture which puts more strain on the joints of the feet, ankles, hips, and spine. When worn for a long time, high heels can cause joint pain. It is also essential to follow the treatment recommended by your doctor and not discontinue it before completing the course.
6. Follow a healthy and balanced diet
Control the calories in your diet to maintain a healthy body weight. Add foods like ginger, garlic, fish, nuts, berries, colourful fruits, and leafy vegetables to your diet as they are helpful against arthritis as they have an anti-inflammatory effect. Avoid excessive salt, sugar, processed and refined foods, and saturated fats, which can increase inflammation in the body. Keep your blood sugar in check because Diabetes increases the risk of osteoarthritis. Well-controlled blood sugar levels can prevent the development and progression of arthritis.