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If you have arthritis, you’re not alone. An estimated 53 million adults and 300,000 children in the US have some kind of arthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, “In New York State alone, there are more than 3.6 million people, including 18,400 children, living with arthritis.”[1] That’s about a million more people than the entire population of Brooklyn. [2]

Arthritis can come in many different forms. In fact, “arthritis” is just the general term for more than 100 types of joint diseases. Some of these diseases cause minor aches and pain around joints, while others can be significantly more severe.

what-is-arthritis-infographic

(Image source: www.cdc.gov/arthritis)

Though every case is different, here are four general tips for managing your arthritis:

Tip 1: Take your medication and stay active

Dealing with a chronic disease can be both mentally and emotionally draining. Talk with your doctor here at Horizon Family Medical Group to determine whether you need to incorporate a regular medication regimen to help treat your arthritis symptoms. Together, we’ll find the right medication and the right dosage to help you feel better.

But treating your arthritis with medication is only half of the equation. Staying active and maintaining a regular exercise schedule helps strengthen the muscles surrounding your joints. You also achieve better joint range of motion and sleep quality. Ensure you combine both a medication regimen with an activity schedule.

Tip 2: Pace yourself

Just because you have arthritis doesn’t mean you still can’t enjoy many of the activities you love. But you may find that you have to ease back on the activity when your joints are inflamed, painful, or stiff. Adjusting your schedule and effort level will help prevent damage and fatigue.

Tip 3: Eat healthy foods

We know, you hear this all the time: Diet and exercise will help improve your overall health. But it’s true, especially in improving your arthritis symptoms. A healthy diet just takes some willpower and planning. So next time you’re off to the grocery store, pick up these foods that have shown to have a positive effect on treating arthritis [3]:

  • Fish (they’re packed with Omega-3s)
  • Soy (like edamame)
  • Dairy (if you’re not into a glass of milk, try yogurt)
  • Citrus (e.g., oranges, pineapple)
  • Garlic
  • Nuts

Tip 4: Get good sleep

Terrible sleep habits can actually make your arthritis worse. [4] Try and maintain a regular sleep schedule. Avoid naps. Go to bed and wake up about the same time every day. This helps your body develop a regular sleep and wake rhythm. And don’t consume energy drinks, coffee, or caffeinated drinks in the hours before bedtime–the caffeine may affect your ability to sleep. If you find you still have problems sleeping, chat with us here at Horizon Family Medical Group. We can help.

 

Resources:

  1. Arthritis.org: http://www.arthritis.org/New-York/-Files/Documents/Press-Releases/Medical-Honoree-Dr–Bronson-03032016.pdf
  2. United States Census Bureau
  3. 12 Best Food For Arthritis: http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/best-foods-for-arthritis/best-foods-for-arthritis.php
  4. www.arthritis.org
  5. www.cdc.gov/arthritis
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