There are more than 100 different forms of arthritis that affect the human body, each of which wreaks havoc on the joints. The longer arthritis goes untreated, the more damage the joints sustain.
Joint damage from arthritis is significant, sometimes causing chronic pain, disability, and difficulty walking or moving. There are, however, several treatments that can help.
Knowing your risk for arthritis is the key to preventing life-long damage and pain. If you're at a high risk for arthritis, there are steps you can take to preserve your joints.
The Spine and Orthopedic Center of New Mexico team offers cutting-edge osteoarthritis treatments in Roswell, New Mexico.
Who's at risk for arthritis?
Arthritis is a painful and degenerative or inflammatory condition that affects just about any joint in the body. According to the CDC, it's a common problem, affecting one in four adult Americans yearly.
Some people are predisposed to arthritis through genetics, while others have modifiable risk factors that they can control. Risk factors are those things that increase the likelihood that someone will develop arthritis.
Risk factors out of your control include genetics, gender, and age. You're more likely to develop arthritis as you age, and women have an increased risk for various types of arthritis compared to men.
However, there are other risk factors you can control to reduce your chances of developing arthritis. These modifiable risk factors include:
You can control these risk factors to reduce the chances of arthritis. If you already have arthritis, losing weight, quitting smoking, and preventing injuries are the best ways to keep the disease from progressing.
Signs that signal a problem
If you're at risk for arthritis, it’s crucial to learn the signs and symptoms of the disease. The sooner you notice the signs, the quicker you can get treatment and avoid surgery.
Joint pain is one of the main signs of arthritis. It may be present as soon as you get out of bed or worsen throughout the day.
While pain is a hallmark sign of arthritis, there are other symptoms to be aware of as well, including:
- Joint stiffness
- Joint swelling
- Decreased range-of-motion
- Instability of the joint
- Weakness in the surrounding muscles
- Redness or warmth
You may also notice clicking or popping sounds when moving an arthritic joint. The symptoms of arthritis may get better with movement or worsen as the day progresses.
Tips to prevent arthritis
Whether you already have mild arthritis or are at high risk for the condition, there are steps you can take to prevent the problem from occurring or getting worse.
First, you can determine which risk factors you can control and change them if necessary. Quit smoking, eat healthy, and take safety at your job seriously.
Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial in slowing down the progression of arthritis. Excess weight stresses the joints in the lower body, leading to the early onset of osteoarthritis in many cases.
Another tip to prevent arthritis is to keep moving. Exercise and movement help to keep the joints healthy and prevent the onset of arthritis. Gently moving the joints daily is the best medicine for arthritis prevention.
Stretching and maintaining balance are also essential aspects of avoiding arthritis. Stretching helps to loosen the muscles and ligaments surrounding the joints, helping you avoid injury during physical activity.
Balance assists you in avoiding falls or other traumatic injuries to the joints, which can bring on arthritis quicker than usual.
If you’re already feeling joint pain or stiffness, the best thing to do is come in and allow our specialized orthopedic staff to evaluate your joint. They offer various nonsurgical treatments for arthritis that help slow down the disease and improve your quality of life.
To find out more about our arthritis treatments, call the Spine and Orthopedic Center of New Mexico today to schedule an appointment. You may also request a consultation on the website.