Can I Prevent Arthritis?

woman holding her painful wrist

There is no scientifically proven method to prevent any form of arthritis, painful chronic swelling in joints. However, there are several things that a person can do that may prevent, or at least lessen, inflammation.

  • Eat more fish – Fish such as salmon, trout, and sardines are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which may reduce inflammation in the body, in addition to other health benefits. Studies suggest that eating these types of fish two times a week may decrease a patient’s risk for developing Rheumatoid Arthritis.

  • Maintain a healthy weight – An overweight patient is nearly four times more likely to develop osteoarthritis in the knees than a more traditionally sized counterpart.

  • Exercise – In addition to helping one maintain a healthy weight, regular exercise helps a person build up the muscles surrounding joints, thereby reducing the strain on those joints. Alternating aerobic exercise with strengthening exercises provides the best results for overall health.

  • Protect yourself from injury – Use caution and common sense in daily life. Wear recommended protective gear when playing sports, wear supportive shoes during low impact exercise, use good body mechanics throughout your day, and ladies, save the high heels for very special occasions.

  • Check your Vitamin D levels – Upwards of 60% of Americans have a Vitamin D deficiency. Low levels of Vitamin D appear to be linked to osteoarthritis. Conversely, however, an excessive amount of Vitamin D may have adverse effects, so it is important to take the amount recommended by your doctor and have your Vitamin D levels checked on a regular basis.

  • Stay hydrated – The human body is made primarily of water, and the cartilage in joints are no exception. A dehydrated body is more susceptible to cartilage damage, which may aggravate osteoarthritis, particularly in the spine. Eight glasses of water daily is enough to keep most people well hydrated.

  • Don’t smoke – Smoking has been proven to do massive damage to many areas of the body, including the joints of rheumatoid arthritis patients. For the benefit of your overall health – and your wallet – don’t smoke. Current smokers may be able to find help through their employer’s health plan or through their primary care doctor. There is a free app for Smart devices, QuitNow!, that helps a person track how long it has been since they have smoked, how many cigarettes they have not smoked, how much money they have saved, and other benefits of their progress.

  • See your doctors regularly – Getting your regular checkups and screenings may help identify potential problems early on and prevent a number of serious conditions. In the case of incurable conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, early diagnosis may slow the progress of the disease and ward off undue suffering.

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