Impacting 30 million individuals within the U.S. alone, osteoarthritis is a debilitating and painful condition that results due to the wearing away of cartilage, creating friction in the joints as unprotected bones rub against one another. Although it may appear in almost any joint, it’s most prevalent in the hands, hips, knees, lower back, and neck.
Since it’s so common, it’s necessary for all of us to understand the basic fundamentals of osteoarthritis and what you should do if you or someone you love is diagnosed, especially a senior. The following tips on how to manage osteoarthritis can help.
- What is the cause of osteoarthritis? Despite the fact that an exact cause is unidentified, it most frequently impacts the elderly and those whose bodies are unable to repair joint tissue.
- Am I at an increased risk? There are particular risk factors:
- Age (most common in those over age 40)
- Trauma or overuse of a joint
- Gender (more common in females than males)
- Profession (people performing repetitive tasks)
- Particular health conditions (such as other forms of arthritis, joint or cartilage abnormalities, misalignment associated with ankle, knee, or hip, bone diseases)
- What are the symptoms? At the start, there may be no apparent symptoms, but as osteoarthritis progresses, signs range from stiffness, swelling, and pain that is severe when the joint has been at rest for a period, in addition to soreness, warmth, and trouble moving the joint, and/or a cracking sound when the joint is moved.
- How will the doctor diagnose osteoarthritis? The doctor’s examination should include tests to exclude other potential causes for the pain and swelling inherent in osteoarthritis, including x-rays, MRIs, blood and joint fluid tests.
- What treatment options are available? Although there’s no cure or treatment to counter the damage attributable to osteoarthritis, symptoms are generally relieved through pain medicines, physical therapy and exercise, lifestyle adjustments, assistive devices, and/or surgery.
- Can vitamin supplements help? Even though some studies have shown that those with insufficient intake of vitamins C, D and K are at an increased risk of being diagnosed with osteoarthritis, the American College of Rheumatology has found that using supplements of these vitamins, as well as calcium and omega-3 fatty acids, has not been shown to be safe or effective. It’s crucial for you to always check with your physician before taking any supplements.
- Providing inspiration and encouragement to participate in doctor-advised exercises
- Supplying transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments and procedures
- Picking up prescriptions, grocery shopping, and running other errands
- And many others
Reach out to us at (515) 292-2650 to get additional helpful resources pertaining to osteoarthritis as well as other conditions common to aging, and to request a no-cost in-home consultation to learn more about how our highly skilled, fully trained and experienced care staff can improve quality of life for an older adult you love.