Osteoarthritis is a painful joint disease that can place severe limits on daily activity and quality of life. Osteoarthritis, which is the most common form of arthritis, often causes weakness and disability, interferes with people’s ability to work, and results in costly joint replacements. The prevalence of osteoarthritis increases rapidly beginning at age forty-five, affecting many people in their prime working years. One in two Americans will get some form of osteoarthritis in their lifetime and twenty-seven million adults currently have it. One in two Americans may develop symptomatic knee osteoarthritis in their lifetime.
Know Your Risk. Forty-six million people are affected with arthritis. With the combination of the aging Baby Boomer population, increased longevity of U.S. citizens and the obesity epidemic, the rising prevalence of osteoarthritis is expected to contribute even more heavily to the severe health and economic effects already present. Osteoarthritis often causes weakness and disability, interferes with work productivity, and results in joint replacement.
Be Aware of Osteoarthritis Risk Factors. A recent community study estimated that the lifetime risk of developing knee osteoarthritis serious enough to cause symptoms is 45%. Risk for knee osteoarthritis increases to 57 percent among people with a past knee injury. The same study found that the lifetime risk for knee osteoarthritis also goes up with increased weight, with two in three people who are obese at risk. Many people with osteoarthritis are not being proactive because of the misconception that arthritis is an inevitable part of aging and that the aches and pains are simply something you must learn to live with.
Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle. Many people with osteoarthritis also suffer from other chronic illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, for which physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight are also recommended. Approximately 50 percent of all people with diabetes also have some form of arthritis. Over half of all adults with heart disease have arthritis. Because of this, it is especially important that people with arthritis, especially those with osteoarthritis (which can be weight-related), include the recommended amounts of physical activity as a part of their lifestyle.
Get Moving. Research shows that the presence of osteoarthritis and arthritis in general, may be a barrier to physical activity among those who have the disease. This is particularly significant given that physical activity is one major, non-pharmacological way to effectively reduce arthritis symptoms such as pain and loss of function.
Originally published on Not Just the Kitchen