World Arthritis Day: Arthritis facts and ways to combat the condition

World Arthritis Day: Arthritis facts and ways to combat the condition

With today being World Arthritis day, Health Europa highlights ways in which those suffering can combat the condition.

In the UK, roughly 10 million people have arthritis, affecting people of all ages, however the condition is statistically more common in women (26 %) than in men (18 %). With it being World Arthritis Day, it is vital for sufferers and non-sufferers alike to increase their awareness of the condition and ways to keep the condition at bay.

Types of Arthritis

Arthritis itself is a common ailment causing pain and inflammation in the joints, this condition is also responsible for being the leading cause of disability among adults in the U.S.

In light of World Arthritis Day, it is essential to emphasise that there are multiple types of the condition that can occur to anyone at any given time. Below is a simple overview of the different types of the condition:

Osteoarthritis: this is the most common type of arthritis in the UK, affecting roughly 8 million people. Osteoarthritis initially affects the smooth cartilage lining of the joint, therefore making movement more difficult than usual, leading to pain and stiffness.

Rheumatoid arthritis: often starts when a person is between 40 and 50 years old and occurs when the body’s immune system targets affected joints, leading to pain and swelling. This can spread across the joint, leading to further swelling and a change in the joint’s shape and may cause the bone and cartilage to break down.

Ankylosing spondylitis: a long-term inflammatory condition mainly affecting the bones, muscles and ligaments of the spine, leading to stiffness and joints fusing together. Other issues include the swelling of tendons, eyes and large joints.

Fibromyalgia: causes pain in the body’s muscles, ligaments and tendons.

Lupus: an autoimmune condition that can affect many different organs and the body’s tissues.

Gout: a type of arthritis caused by too much uric acid in the body. This can be left in joints (usually affecting the big toe) but can develop in any joint. It causes intense pain, redness and swelling.

World Arthritis Day: what experts say you should be doing

Although there is no cure for arthritis, there are many treatments that can help slow down the condition.

Typical treatments include painkillers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, physiotherapy and regular exercise. However, a vital way to tackle the condition is diet.

Food for the joints

According to the Arthritis Foundation, foods ranging from turmeric supplements to the foods listed below help arthritis by controlling inflammation – perfect for World Arthritis Day!

Fish: some types of fish (i.e. salmon, tuna, sardines) are good sources of inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids. More recently, researchers have shown that taking fish oil supplements helps reduce joint swelling and pain.

Nuts & Seeds: nuts contain inflammation-fighting monounsaturated fat. And though they’re relatively high in fat and calories, studies show consuming nuts promotes weight loss because their protein, fibre and monounsaturated fats are satiating.

Fruits: research has shown that anthocyanins contained in cherries and other red and purple fruits like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries etc. have an anti-inflammatory effect. Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits and limes are rich in vitamin C therefore preventing inflammatory arthritis and maintaining healthy joints.

Veggies: eating vitamin K-rich veggies like broccoli, spinach, lettuce, kale and cabbage dramatically reduces inflammatory markers in the blood.

Whole Grains: fibre and fibre-rich foods can lower blood levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein.

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