by A. Grano on June 15th, 2011 at 7:00 am
It is a very common misconception that arthritis only affects older people. According to the CDC, almost 3 of every 5 patients are younger than 65 years old. In fact, doctors now believe that initial pain and symptoms may even begin to surface in your 30’s, 20’s or even younger.
However, arthritis doesn’t have to keep you from living an active, enjoyable life. Keep in mind the following:
- Lighten up. Every single pound of excess weight equates to four pounds of stress on your knees. Talk to your doctor if you’re having a hard time losing weight.
- Maintain heart health. Rheumatoid arthritis increases the risk of cardiovascular disease because it triggers the body’s inflammatory response, so it’s very important to manage controllable risk factors such as cholesterol levels and blood pressure through diet, exercise, and healthy living like avoiding smoking.
- Don’t become inactive on “bad” days. While you should take it easy during flare-ups, keep moving to maintain flexibility and muscle tone. Avoid heavy weight-bearing exercises and stick to lower-impact activities like swimming or biking.
- Squash stress. Chronic pain can lead to serious emotional distress, so it’s critical to find ways to release tension. Check out online support groups if you’re short on time or have difficulty finding encouragement from friends and family members who can’t relate to your condition.
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