Living With Arthritis
1 AnswerHealthyWomen answeredContrary to conventional wisdom, using a joint with arthritis may not lead to more damage. In fact, the opposite may be true. Not only does regular exercise help you maintain a healthy weight, it builds muscle, and strong muscles can protect your joints.
1 AnswerNatalie E. Azar, MD, Rheumatology, answered
Diet can play a role in arthritis; there are certain foods that promote inflammation in the body, making arthritis symptoms worse. Watch as rheumatologist Natalie Azar, MD, discusses which foods fight inflammation, and which are more inflammatory.
3 AnswersExercise can significantly reduce arthritis pain in older women. Older people can improve their chances of staying pain-free from arthritis by exercising regularly, according to a study that looked at 8,750 Australian women in different age groups: 48 to 55 years and 72 to 79 years. The researchers stressed that findings showed that increased exercise led to less pain, as those who exercised 2 1/2 hours a week reported less discomfort from arthritis than those women who exercised one hour and 15 minutes.
1 AnswerMaintaining a healthy weight is an important strategy for staying healthy and managing a variety of chronic illnesses. About 66% of adults with doctor-diagnosed arthritis are overweight or obese. Research suggests that maintaining a healthy weight reduces the risk of developing arthritis and may decrease disease progression. A loss of just 11 pounds, for people who are overweight, can decrease the occurrence of new knee osteoarthritis, and a modest weight loss (5%) can help reduce pain and disability.
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1 AnswerDrink tea, black or green, if you have arthritis. The notion that green tea is healthier than black tea has not been borne out by clinical trials in humans. Green tea may have anti-cancer effects, but black tea has a better track record in fighting inflammation. You need at least 3 cups a day, unless you're a smoker, in which case no amount of tea will work for you.
1 AnswerIf you have arthritis, don't worry about carrots. All the publicity given to the Glycemic Index of foods (the tendency for a food to raise blood sugar) has given carrots a bad rep. The carotenoids in carrots, anti-oxidants that create the orange color, and the fiber, make carrots an anti-inflammatory food. Carrots are more nutritious cooked than raw.
1 AnswerIf you have arthritis, eat fish 3 times a week, especially wild salmon, if it's available and affordable, but don't fry your fish; frying interferes with the benefits. You may want to consider supplementing your diet with the natural anti-inflammatory, fish oil. The amount of fish oil you need is not fixed; it varies from about a teaspoon (4000 milligrams) to a tablespoon (12,000 milligrams) each day, depending upon what else is in your diet. The more meat, poultry, egg yolk or dairy fat you eat, the greater your need for fish oil, because these foods contain arachidonic acid, a pro-inflammatory omega 6 fatty acid. The more you use vegetable oils other than extra-virgin olive oil, the more fish oil you need.
1 AnswerIf you have arthritis, choose your oils wisely.
Extra-virgin olive oil has natural anti-inflammatory benefits, whether raw or cooked. Recent research has identified the antioxidant called oleocanthal, which is only found in extra-virgin olive oil. Oleocanthal is a natural anti-inflammatory with potency strikingly similar to that of the drug ibuprofen in inhibiting an enzyme that causes pain and inflammation. Studies have shown that people with inflammatory arthritis experience a decrease in pain and stiffness of their joints when treated with fish oil. Even better pain management results have been observed when, in addition to fish oil, extra-virgin olive oil is part of the natural anti-inflammatory diet.
Flaxseed oil and flaxseed meal (ground flaxseed) also have significant anti-inflammatory effects, but should not be cooked, because cooking destroys some of the beneficial omega-3 fats. Other vegetable oils, like corn, safflower or sunflower oils, can increase inflammation and counteract the benefits of anti-inflammatory nutrients in your diet.
1 AnswerEat at least 8 servings of fruits and vegetables every day if you have arthritis. Choose those with bright or deep colors like cherries and berries and sweet potatoes that contain natural anti-inflammatory nutrition. Don't believe the old saw that citrus fruits and "nightshade" vegetables like tomatoes and peppers cause arthritis. Oranges and tomatoes have been shown to have significant anti-inflammatory effects in some people.
Most of the patients with arthritis I've seen do better eating lots of vegetables and fruits. Tomatoes, incidentally, seem to have more of anti-inflammatory effect when they're cooked or juiced, but most other vegetables and fruits are better if they're fresh.
1 AnswerShelley Peterman Schwarz, Neurology, answeredHere are some tips for traveling by car if you have arthritis.
- Stay warm when traveling with electric car blanket. For extra warmth when traveling on a cold winter’s day, plug a specially designed electric car blanket into your vehicle’s power port or cigarette lighter. Look in automotive or discount department stores for a high-quality fleece blanket, large enough for two people, and a power cord long enough to reach the back seat.
- Try a sheepskin seat belt cover. If you find wearing a seat belt uncomfortable due to sensitive skin or body pain, a genuine sheepskin cover will cushion the pressure of the belt against your neck and chest and make driving or riding more comfortable. Available in automotive sections.
- Support your legs and back on long trips. To reduce leg and back pain on long-distance drives or commutes, Drivease, a simple but effective ergonomic device, can really add to your comfort. Position the firm, flexible support under your right leg to aid circulation and support the sciatic nerve and lower back, helping you to maintain a comfortable driving posture.