Prevent Osteoarthritis

Knee osteoarthritis can be prevented

Knee osteoarthritis can be prevented

Many people with osteoarthritis also suffer from other chronic illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Osteoarthritis is a painful joint disease that can place severe limits on daily activity and quality of life. Osteoarthritis which is the most common form of arthritis, often causes weakness and disability, interferes with people’s ability to work, and results in costly joint replacements.  The prevalence of osteoarthritis increases rapidly beginning at age 45, affecting many people in their prime working years. One in two Americans will get some form of osteoarthritis in their lifetime and 27 million adults currently have it. One in two Americans may develop symptomatic knee osteoarthritis in their lifetime.

Know Your Risk. 46 million people are affected with arthritis. With the combination of the aging Baby Boomer population, increased longevity of U.S. citizens and the obesity epidemic, the rising prevalence of osteoarthritis is expected to contribute even more heavily to the severe health and economic effects already present. Osteoarthritis often causes weakness and disability, interferes with work productivity, and results in joint replacement.

Be Aware of Osteoarthritis Risk Factors. A recent community study estimated that the lifetime risk of developing knee osteoarthritis serious enough to cause symptoms is 45%. Risk for knee osteoarthritis increases to 57% among people with a past knee injury. The same study found that the lifetime risk for knee osteoarthritis also goes up with increased weight, with 2 in 3 people who are obese at risk. Many people with osteoarthritis are not being proactive because of the misconception that arthritis is an inevitable part of aging and that the aches and pains are simply something you must learn to live with.

Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle. Many people with osteoarthritis also suffer from other chronic illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, for which physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight are also recommended. Approximately 50% of all people with diabetes also have some form of arthritis. Over half of all adults with heart disease have arthritis. Because of this, it is especially important that people with arthritis, especially those with osteoarthritis (which can be weight-related), include the recommended amounts of physical activity as a part of their lifestyle.

Get Moving. Research shows that the presence of osteoarthritis and arthritis in general, may be a barrier to physical activity among those who have the disease. This is particularly significant given that physical activity is one major, non-pharmacological way to effectively reduce arthritis symptoms such as pain and loss of function. Though people who have osteoarthritis may be hesitant to exercise, routine exercise is recommended for them both in the National Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans and in A National Public Health Agenda for Osteoarthritis.

Get Help. CDC and the Arthritis Foundation suggest several physical activity and self-management education programs that are both proven to be effective and highly recommended for people with arthritis who need special information about exercising safely. A complete listing of these programs and more information about them may be found by visiting: http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/interventions.htm . Currently these programs reach only about 1% of the population. The Osteoarthritis agenda was formulated, partly to direct public health activities to help close this gap and make the evidence-based programs more readily available to the people who can benefit from them. You should also check out  www.arthritis.org, where you can learn about simple steps you can take to reduce pain, increase mobility and slow the progression of your arthritis. The site includes a self-screening quiz, movement tracker, live twitter feed, community forums and blogs, program and event locator and campaign materials.

For more information please visit:  Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.

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