Living with Osteoarthritis

Living with Osteoarthritis

Living with Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis (OA) can make moving painful and difficult. Being overweight or obese puts extra pressure on the joints, so it is important to exercise regularly and eat a healthy, low-fat diet. An occupational therapist can teach you ways to perform daily activities with less stress on your joints.

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    If you have osteoarthritis, it is important to rest when needed. No busy person will argue with this treatment: When osteoarthritis makes your joints particularly sore, you may find that resting, getting adequate sleep, reducing stress and practicing relaxation techniques can help ease the pain. Avoid the tendency to overdo. A steady pace with minor adjustments works best.
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Knee osteoarthritis

    Knee problems can be made worse by jarring physical activity, so what's a runner with osteoarthritis to do? In this video, Dr. Oz guest Dr. Mike Clark explains how running could still be an option for people with osteoarthritis if they follow some important steps.


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    Regular exercise is an important component of the osteoarthritis treatment plan. Not only does regular exercise help you maintain a healthy weight, but it builds muscle -- and strong muscles can protect your joints. Exercise also improves mood, increases flexibility, stimulates blood flow and reduces pain. For all these reasons, studies show that people with osteoarthritis who exercise consistently have better joint function and less pain than people who are sedentary. To maximize joint health, participate in a variety of exercise types, including strength training, aerobic conditioning, balance, agility and stretching. Consider activities you enjoy that combine these elements, such as dancing, water aerobics or hiking.
     
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    It is important to maintain a healthy weight if you have osteoarthritis. Losing just one pound of body weight takes four pounds of pressure off your knee joints, so weight loss benefits quickly add up. Plus, inflammatory chemicals made by fatty tissue may be part of the cause of osteoarthritis. As a bonus, losing weight helps reduce your risk of other health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. It also boosts energy, mood and self-esteem. The best way to shed pounds is by balancing healthy eating habits with regular exercise. You don't have to get to a normal weight to see improvement. Many studies have shown that even a modest weight loss, such as a 10% reduction in body weight, is associated with significant health benefits.
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered

    You can take charge of your osteoarthritis. Simple steps you can take on your own can help you manage the pain, stiffness and other symptoms of osteoarthritis. For instance:

    • Get some physical activity every day. Strong, well-exercised joints are less painful and retain greater mobility. If you already exercise regularly, you may need to try different activities. Instead of jogging or playing basketball, walking or swimming may be better choices.
    • Watch what you eat, especially if you're overweight. Extra pounds add pressure on your joints. If you need to lose weight, your doctor can advise you on the best approach.
    • Use hot and cold therapy. Ice packs can help reduce pain, while heating pads may soothe your joints. 
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    Caring for someone with osteoarthritis requires patience and the knowledge of the individual's limits. Those affected with the disorder may not function at the same level they once did. It is important to realize that osteoarthritis can make people more susceptible to fatigue and weakness in the muscles. Treating the symptoms promptly and consistently as well as maintaining a level of relaxation has been shown to positively impact pain and fatigue. The person should be encouraged to engage in physical activity, though, as fitness can be a big help in dealing with the disorder. Also, make sure they take any medications exactly as prescribed.

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    People with osteoarthritis should eat a healthy, low-fat diet. A high-fat diet can cause weight gain and obesity, which puts added pressure on the joints and can worsen the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Fat also causes inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation of the joints is a leading cause of the debilitating pain that stems from osteoarthritis. Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and physical activity can help slow the progression of osteoarthritis. 
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    Foot orthoses, also called shoe inserts, can help correct knee adduction -- movement of the knee while walking -- and act as a shock absorber to take some of the stress off a knee that has been damaged by osteoarthritis (OA).

    There is also some evidence that orthoses may slow the progression of mild to moderate osteoarthritis of the inside of the knee and the foot. But the research is inconsistent. Some studies find that they reduce pain and stiffness, and enable people with OA to cut down on pain medication. Other studies find they provide limited, if any, benefit. 
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    Scientific research on the possible benefit of over-the-counter supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin in reducing joint pain and improving function with osteoarthritis is very limited and inconclusive. Some physicians suggest that their patients try a supplement for a period of several weeks to a couple of months, and if they don’t feel any relief in that time, to discontinue using it. Supplements should not be taken without close medical supervision due to potential side effects and interactions with medicines, so anyone trying these or any other over-the-counter supplements should consult their physician first.

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    A , Family Medicine, answered
    Researchers have long known that quality of life can be significantly affected in people who have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis. Quality of life refers to the ability to perform daily tasks, including work and home responsibilities. It also refers to the general satisfaction of daily living. Researchers have reported that people with osteoarthritis have more than double the number of days they feel they are "unhealthy" compared to those without osteoarthritis, and triple the number of days their condition affects their lives.