Senior Arthritis Awareness
May is recognized annually as National Arthritis Awareness Month. Half of all people aged 65 and older struggle with arthritis, most often osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or gout. The first steps for you or your senior loved one to conquer arthritis are learning the facts, understanding your condition and knowing that help is close by.
If you feel pain and stiffness in your body or struggle moving around, you might have arthritis. Most types cause pain and swelling in your joints. Some kinds of arthritis can even cause problems in your organs, such as your eyes or skin, emphasizing the importance of understanding the facts and how to manage it.
Common Types of Arthritis
● Osteoarthritis- It is the most common type of arthritis in the elderly, which affects an estimated 31 million Americans. It is often related to old age or to an injury. Growing older is what most often puts you at risk for Osteoarthritis.
● Autoimmune arthritis- This is when your body’s immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake. The most common form of this type is Rheumatoid arthritis.
● Infectious arthritis- This is an infection that has spread from one part of the body to a specific joint.
● Gout- This is a painful form of arthritis that often starts in the big toe and happens when too much uric acid builds up in the body. As you get older, some blood pressure medicines can also increase your chances of a gout attack.
Signs of Senior Arthritis
Look out for these common arthritis symptoms:
● Lasting joint pain
● Joint swelling
● Joint stiffness
● Tenderness or pain when touching a joint
● Problems using or moving a joint normally
● Warmth and redness in a joint
About 24 million adults are limited in their activities from arthritis, but senior adults can decrease pain and improve function by about 40 percent by being psychically active. Along with taking the correct medicine and properly resting your joints, exercise is a great way to keep your muscles strong and control arthritis symptoms.
Arthritis also makes it harder for seniors to manage heart disease, diabetes or obesity. Approximately half of adults with heart disease or diabetes have arthritis, too. Additionally, about half of adults with arthritis who also have another condition like heart disease, diabetes or obesity, have some form of limitation to their everyday physical activities due to their arthritic condition. However, physical activity and small amounts of exercise every day can help manage all of these conditions.
While living with arthritis can certainly seem daunting and be tough to cope with, make sure you or your senior loved one are informed and understand the facts to help control symptoms.