Living With Arthritis Olivia Pirosko

"Reduce the mean level of joint pain among adults with doctor-diagnosed arthritis"- Healthy People 2020 objective towards arthritis

Teaching Objective

  1. Be able to identify what arthritis is
  2. Be able to identify main interventions to improve quality of life
  3. Learn about arthritis management options
  4. Learn about exercise for arthritis
  5. Learn about diet for arthritis

What is Arthritis?

  • Inflammation of the joints or joint pain
  • There's more than 100 different types
  • It is the most common cause of disability affecting 1 in 5 adults
  • The most common symptoms are swelling, pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion around the affected joint
  • The symptoms may range from mild to severe and may come and go
  • Arthritis can progress and get worse overtime which may lead to chronic pain, inability to do normal activities of daily living, make walking more difficult, and can cause permanent joint changes

Interventions

The main interventions used to reduce arthritis pain and functional limitations are increased physical activity, self-management education, and weight loss among overweight/obese adults.

Management Options

  • Balancing activity with rest
  • Using hot and cold therapies
  • Regular physical activity
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Strengthening the muscle around the joint for added support
  • Using assistive devices
  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medicines
  • Avoiding excessive repetitive movements
  • Physical or occupational therapy

Exercise

  • Moderate-intensity, low-impact physical activity improves pain, function, mood, and quality of life
  • Aerobic and muscle strengthening exercises are recommended
  • Will not worsen symptoms or disease severity
  • Physical activity delays onset of disability
  • Important in managing arthritis symptoms and will also increase energy
  • Include activities that improve or maintain balance to prevent falls
  • Aerobic exercises will make your heart beat faster and you breathe harder which could include brisk walking, swimming, social dancing, or conditioning machines like the stationary bike
  • Muscle strengthening activities should be done at least 2 days per week so that the muscles can be built to take pressure off the joints
  • Muscle strengthening activities could include lifting small amount of weights, working with resistance bands, heavy gardening, group exercise classes, or exercise videos

Diet Suggestions

  • Certain foods can fight inflammation, strengthen bones, and boost immune system
  • Fish with omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, or herring can help fight inflammation
  • Soybeans, which are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, can be found in tofu or edamame and also help fight inflammation
  • Cherries can help reduce the frequency of gout attacks
  • Calcium and vitamin D-rich foods such as green leafy vegetables and low-fat dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese) increase bone strength
  • Besides broccoli being rich in calcium and vitamins K and C it also contains sulforaphane which has been found to help slow the progression of arthritis
  • Green tea is filled with polyphenols and antioxidants which is believed to reduce inflammation and slow cartilage destruction
  • Citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits contain healthy amounts of vitamin C which research suggests helps in maintaining healthy joints in people with arthritis
  • Nuts such as walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios, and almonds are not only full of protein and fiber but also rich in protein, calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin E, and immune-boosting alpha linolenic acid which is beneficial for weight loss and healthy for the heart
  • Try adding a couple of these options to your diet!

References

  • Fitzharles, M., Lussier, D., & Shir, Y. (2010). Management of chronic arthritis pain in the elderly. Drugs & Aging, 27(6), 471-490. doi:10.2165/11536530-000000000-00000
  • Oliver, S., & Ryan, S. (2004). Effective pain management for patients with arthritis. Nursing Standard, 18(50), 43-56.
  • Physical Activity for Arthritis. (2016, October 26). Retrieved March 07, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/physical-activity-overview.html
  • 12 Best Foods For Arthritis. (n.d.). Retrieved March 07, 2017, from http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/best-foods-for-arthritis/best-foods-for-arthritis.php
  • Arthritis, Osteoporosis, and Chronic Back Conditions. (n.d.). Retrieved March 06, 2017, from https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/Arthritis-Osteoporosis-and-Chronic-Back-Conditions
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Olivia Pirosko
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