There are different types of arthritis, as well as different ways to treat and prevent it. In NY1’s Healthy Living report, Jill Urban talks with an expert on what can be done to help stop the prevalent joint disorder.
Over 46 million Americans suffer from arthritis, which is an inflammation of the joints.
“Arthritis is generally joint pain and there are many different types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and it’s due to wear and tear of the joint. Inflammatory arthritis, on the other hand, is due to a malfunction of the immune system where the immune system gets confused and starts attacking its own joints,” said Dr. Suma Dasari, a rheumatologist at The Mount Sinai Hospital.
Dasari says there are several types of inflammatory arthritis such as Rheumatoid, Psoriatic or Lupis related arthritis. These autoimmune diseases are often genetic, so generally there is not much one can do in terms of prevention. However, with osteoarthritis, which is caused by injury or wear and tear, there are things you can do to keep that joint healthy. For one, keep moving.
"Joints are made for mobility. So, to keep the joints active, walking can be great, swimming and biking are low impact exercises. Stretching and breathing exercises like beginner’s yoga or pilates, tai chi, those kinds of things as well can help to protect the joints,” said Dasari.
Now, another way to protect yourself from arthritis is with weight management. Excess weight puts strain on our joints, so eating a healthy diet and staying physically fit can keep your weight down and ultimately reduce your risk.
And don’t smoke. Nicotine can directly affect the cartilage in our bodies and increase our risk.
Symptoms are generally joint pain, swelling and stiffness. Osteoarthritis tends to hurt most at the end of the day after the joint was in use. Inflammatory arthritis tends to be most painful in the morning and eases during the day.
Treatments include injections, medications or even surgery. In some cases it is possible to go into remission. So don’t dismiss your symptoms as simple aches and pains. Check with your doctor because if you do suffer from arthritis you don’t have to suffer in pain.