If you watched your parents struggle with osteoarthritis, it may be tempting to assume that the same fate awaits you. But you can take steps to keep your joints healthy.
If you want to avoid osteoarthritis, keeping your weight under control is a must. People who pack on pounds as they age dramatically increase their risk for osteoarthritis. In fact, studies show that people with arthritis are at least 50% more likely to be obese than people with healthy joints. That's probably because extra weight means added pressure on the knees, hips and other joints. There is also new evidence that inflammatory chemicals produced by body fat may damage the joints.
Staying active can help prevent osteoarthritis too. That may sound strange if you've always heard that wear and tear damages the joints. But the research is clear: People who exercise regularly have better mobility and less joint pain.
If you are overweight and don't exercise, your doctor can recommend a diet and fitness plan that's right for you.