Rheumatoid Arthritis: NHS on common signs and symptoms
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Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in the UK, affecting nearly nine million people. Initially it compromises the smooth cartilage lining of the joint, making movement more difficult and leading to pain and stiffness. It mainly affects joints in the hands, knees, spine and hips, and typically occurs after the age of 40.
And the second most common type of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis, which is when the body’s immune system targets affected joints, causing pain and swelling.
Rheumatoid arthritis often affects people between 40 and 50 years old.
But Doctor Gill Jenkins, GP and advisor to the pain specialists Deep Relief, explained it was possible to look after our joints as we age.
She said: “Healthy joints are essential for a healthy life, and while some deterioration is inevitable as we get older, there is a lot we can do to protect our joints and minimise issues as we get older.
“It is never too late to improve the health of your joints and muscles, and it’s never too soon to start.
“Taking steps to reduce weight and inflammation, and improve activity levels and posture will not only help to protect and future-proof your joints, they will also lead to noticeable improvements in health and wellbeing across the board.
“It can be a struggle to stay active when you have an injury or experience chronic pain from arthritis and other joint problems.”
Her colleague, Chris Ruxton – a personal trainer from Deep Relief – shared his top five tips for tackling the onset of arthritis exclusively with Express.co.uk.
Exercise – Do whatever type of exercise you enjoy to keep your joints mobile but it’s best to mix it up to hit different parts of the body.
Swimming, walking, squats and stretching tick all the boxes.
However, if you have joint aches and pains, don’t stop moving as this can make things worse.
Keep active and reach for an evidence-backed anti-inflammatory topical product.
Eat an anti-inflammatory diet – An anti-inflammatory diet based on vegetables, fruits, seeds, beans, pulses and oily fish can dampen down inflammation and help to future-proof your joints.
Minimise highly processed foods as these are thought to promote inflammation.
Watch your posture – Whether sitting at a desk, on a sofa or in the car, look after your posture.
Make sure your computer workstation is appropriately arranged, prop yourself up on sofas, and make sure your car seats are adjusted for your height. Get up from your desk at least hourly and stretch.
Watch your balance – Try standing on one leg in turn for as long as you can or for one to two minutes per leg.
This will improve your balance and do wonders for strengthening your ankle joints. Good balance reduces the risk of falling which can lead to joint injury.
Lose extra weight – Extra body weight stresses weight bearing joints whilst extra fat tissue stimulates inflammation throughout the body.
If you are overweight, cut your portion sizes, try to cook more at home, and stick with healthy snacks such as fruit, seeds, yogurt or raw vegetables.
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