Taking action against arthritis

Think about what you did this morning. When you woke up, maybe you hit the snooze button a few times before getting out of bed and making your way—albeit groggily—to the bathroom. Maybe you took the time to make breakfast, or maybe you simply turned on the hot water and stepped into the shower. You washed your hair, your face, your body, and then toweled off and got dressed for the day in your favorite button-up shirt and those nice, classy slacks.

To most people, this morning routine is done on autopilot. But to someone suffering from joint inflammation, commonly known as arthritis, this morning routine can be described as anything from slightly uncomfortable to downright agonizing.

Arthritis, the symptoms of which include pain, stiffness, aching, and/or swelling of the joints, is the effect of years of wear and tear on our body’s joints. And with an estimated 50 million people suffering from doctor-diagnosed arthritis in the United States alone, it is the nation’s most common form of disability. Its limiting effects on a person’s mobility significantly reduce quality of life and the tasks a person can perform on a daily basis—even the simplest ones.

But there is hope. By understanding the causes of arthritis, and by taking preventative action, we can help save our joints and live long, healthy, active lives.

Risky Business

There are several different risk factors for developing joint pain. Some cannot be prevented, and others can:

Family history: Genetics does seem to have an affect on whether a person develops osteoarthritis.

Advancing age: The older you are, the more likely you are to develop joint pain.

Obesity: Carrying additional weight on your frame puts you more at risk because you are putting extra strain on your knees and ankles.

Overuse or injury: Those who put extra strain on their joints, such as competitive athletes or those whose jobs require repetitive motion, are at a higher risk of developing joint issues.

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