Take action — don’t live with the pain.
Arthritis is one of the most common chronic conditions for people over the age of 65 in the U.S. and is the leading cause of disability for older adults. Millions of older people are living with some form of arthritis, the most common being osteoarthritis, which is caused by wear and tear on joints from physical activity or past injuries. Other types of arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis and gout. With all forms of arthritis, joints become inflamed, stiff and painful.
Make Prevention a Priority
Arthritis is a complex and not fully understood disease, which makes prevention difficult. Unfortunately, there is no sure way to prevent arthritis, but there are factors that can reduce risk and potentially delay onset of the condition. Engaging in care of the body and joints is the best way to safeguard against the risk of developing the condition, as well as refraining from tobacco use and alcohol abuse.
Additionally, medical professionals encourage people to lead an active and healthy lifestyle while maintaining a healthy body weight. The best forms of prevention while bolstering joint health are eating well, being physically active, getting appropriate amounts of sleep, managing stress and having meaningful social interactions with others.
The care and treatment of aging-related arthritis varies according to the type of arthritis and the needs of the individual. Most commonly, the goal of arthritis treatment is to minimize pain and slow joint damage. Medical practitioners will often use a multipronged approach to treat individuals living with arthritis. Various methods of treatment include medications to control pain and joint swelling, exercise, rest, forms of alternative therapies and, in some extreme cases, surgery.
Lydia Manning is a gerontologist, educator and entrepreneur with a wide range of experience in the field of aging. She is an associate professor of gerontology at Concordia University Chicago. Dr. Manning received her Ph.D. in social gerontology from the Department of Sociology and Gerontology at Miami University.
By Lydia K. Manning, Ph.D.