Among Americans, osteoarthritis is the most frequently experienced joint disease. Like many health conditions, primary risk factors for osteoarthritis are aging and obesity. Symptomatic knee osteoarthritis, the most common type, is diagnosed in 1 in 8 women and 1 in 10 men aged 60 and above.
Although this health disorder may seem shockingly prevalent, we can still be proactive so that it is less likely to develop by adopting osteoarthritis prevention methods. Even those who are currently suffering from the disease can benefit from lifestyle adjustments, to minimize the frequency and intensity of flare-ups.
How can you prevent osteoarthritis?
1. Keep your body weight within the healthy range
Through the simple act of walking, the knees are subjected to 3 to 6 times our total weight, according to the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center. That means being overweight has an incredibly severe impact on these critical joints: every 1 pound of extra weight on the body results in 3-6 pounds of additional force on the knees. Because that’s the case, reducing weight is a straightforward path toward preventing osteoarthritis.
2. Improve your posture
Paying attention to the way that your body is positioned when you sit, stand, and walk will help remove some unnecessary force from your joints. Pull back your shoulders, especially resisting the urge to hunch forward when you’re at your desk.
3. Be aware of your pain
Pain is the body’s way of warning you that it is under duress and needs a break. Respecting your body’s limits is an aspect of self-management that is fundamental in preventing osteoarthritis.
Working out at a moderate intensity level for half an hour five times weekly will provide stability for your joints by improving flexibility and bolstering your strength. Getting active in any way can be helpful, whether you’re doing household chores, gardening, or going for a stroll through your neighborhood. However, committing to a daily exercise plan is the most effective way to prevent osteoarthritis. In fact, the nonprofit Arthritis Foundation notes that “[p]hysical activity is the best available treatment for OA.”
5. Watch your blood sugar levels
Diabetes is often a precursor to osteoarthritis. Glucose that is higher than normal spurs the creation of molecules that stiffen the cartilage. Plus, diabetes may cause a general inflammatory condition that reduces your cartilage over time. Control glucose for osteoarthritis prevention.
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