According to the Arthritis Foundation in 2007, 46 million Americans have arthritis (almost 1 out of 7 people), the leading cause of disability. Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. It occurs when cartilage in the joints erodes. The functions of cartilage are to protect the joint, provide shock-absorption when pressure is placed on joint, and allow for smooth movement. When the cartilage breakdown, you may have pain, stiffness, swelling, limited movement, and even disability. There is no cure for arthritis. Early signs of arthritis include stiffness, loss of range of motion, and dull ache in the joint. The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis usually occurs as people age; it may be delayed if you take care of yourself, especially when you are young.
The followings are tips on how to prevent or delay arthritis:
- Exercise. Do exercises like swimming, biking, yoga, pilates, walking, weightlifting, as long as it is not too fast, heavy or stressful.
- Lose weight or maintain healthy weight. Extra weight adds pressure on joints. Eat more whole foods and less refined, packaged foods.
- Reduce repetitive strain on joints and muscles. Repetitive or forceful motions may leads to osteoarthritis in later years.
- Prevent and treat injuries. Too many sprains in the same joint or lack of treatment for sprains may cause arthritis later.
- Supplements: Glucosamine and chondroitin, MSM, vitamin C and D, and boron.
- Drink lots of water. Minimize coffee, tea and soda as substitutes for water because they contain ingredients that may block the absorption of water to the cartilage in joints.
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