Affecting 1 in 5 people over the age of 18 at some point in life, arthritis is more common than you may realize. Part of the reason for this is the link between certain lifestyle habits and the joint pain and inflammation characteristic of arthritis. Even if you don’t have arthritis now, the following lifestyle habits may lead to development of the condition later in life.
Weight Gain or Obesity
Obesity in youth can place added stress on weight-bearing joints, increasing the odds of developing arthritis symptoms. The same is true when sudden weight gain occurs later in life. A Mayo Clinic study suggests that losing weight may relieve symptoms or reduce the risk of developing arthritis altogether.
Smoking can be especially problematic if you already have rheumatoid arthritis since chemicals in tobacco may decrease the effects of methotrexate, a common arthritis medication. Centennial home care professionals note that the risk is even greater if you’re genetically predisposed to developing RA, the most common form of arthritis.
More common among women, eating disorders like anorexia nervosa can affect bone density. An increased production of the stress hormone cortisol associated with anorexia may result in a calcium deficiency that further increases pressure on bones and joints.
Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol in moderation (2 drinks a day for men, 1 drink a day for women) has some documented health benefits. Too much alcohol consumption, however, can reduce bone density and counteract the affects of some arthritis medications.
A general lack of activity can weaken bones and joints over time, increasing the risk of wear and tear on supporting muscles and tendons. The good news is that it’s never too late to start benefiting from some form of exercise. Even 20-30 minutes of exercise per day can increase bone and muscle strength to counter mild to moderate arthritis symptoms that may develop later in life.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, athletes who sustain repeated injuries to bones and joints are at an increased risk for developing post-traumatic arthritis. The same concept applies to any type of high-impact injury, whether sports-related or not.
One of the best ways to prevent any disease is through a healthy lifestyle. At Centennial Home Care Assistance, every care plan includes the use of our Balanced Care Method, designed to promote overall wellbeing through exercise, diet, social interaction, and a sense of calm and purpose. For more information on BCM or any of our care services, including hourly, live-in, dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and stroke care in Centennial, give us a call at 303.957.3100. We are available 24/7 to answer questions or discuss care options for your loved one.