Women Taking Control of Arthritis
Management Strategies to Put to Work Today
With nearly one in four adults in Michigan at risk of arthritis in its more than 100 different forms, and more than 60 percent of them women, the Arthritis Foundation, Michigan Chapter has some good new for consumers.
"Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in our nation. It causes pain and limits activity for women of all ages," says Michelle Glazier, the chapter’s president. "But early diagnosis and treatment can slow the progress of the disease, and a comprehensive management plan can allow you to continue to enjoy your favorite activities."
If you have arthritis, the Arthritis Foundation urges you to work with your physician to develop an action plan to take control of your condition. This may include:
- Regular exercise – Exercise is an essential part of any arthritis management plan. Regular, moderate, physical activity offers a host of benefits to women
with arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation, Michigan Chapter offers specially-designed, joint-friendly exercise programs in many communities throughout the state, including aquatics, fitness and tai chi classes. Programs are designed to reduce joint pain and stiffness, build strong muscle around the joints, increase flexibility and endurance, and more.
- Appropriate diet and healthy weight – Excess body weight is a major risk factor for osteoarthritis, and a major contributor to arthritis pain. All women with arthritis, young and old, can benefit from eating a well-balanced diet that allows them to maintain a healthy body weight. This includes a variety of foods; plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole-grain products; and sugar, salt and fat (especially saturated fat found in animal products) in moderation.
- Use of heat and cold – Using heat and cold treatments can reduce the pain and stiffness of arthritis. Heat relaxes your muscles and stimulates blood circulation. Cold packs numb the sore area and reduce inflammation and swelling.
- Rest or relaxation techniques – When you feel stressed, your body’s muscles become tense. This muscle tension can increase pain and fatigue and may further limit your abilities. By learning to manage your stress in a positive way, you can reduce your pain, feel healthier and manage your disease more effectively.
- Appropriate medications – Many different drugs are used to treat arthritis and related diseases. The ones your physician recommends will depend on the type of arthritis you have. You should always check with your physician before taking any medication, including over the counter drugs and dietary and herbal supplements.
- Surgery – Most people with arthritis will not need joint surgery. However, surgery can be considered when other treatments don’t lessen the pain or when you have major difficulty moving and using joints.
- Physical and Occupational Therapy – Physical therapists can show you exercises to help keep your muscles strong and your joints limber. Occupational therapists can teach you how to reduce strain on your joints while doing everyday activities.
- Education and strategies from the Arthritis Foundation – The Arthritis Foundation, Michigan Chapter can provide you a wealth of information and resources to help you take control of your arthritis, including free brochures and lists of arthritis specialists. Call 1-800-968-3030 or visit www.arthritis.org to learn more. Click on "Find Programs Near You" and enter your zip code.
***You can get some exercise, and help the Arthritis Foundation raise funds for arthritis research, by participating in the 21st annual Jingle Bell Run/Walk in December. Events will be held in Northville and Bloomfield Hills with both 5k and 10k routes. Recruitment of individuals, teams and sponsors is underway. Call 1-800-968-3030 or visit www.arthritis.org to learn more.
Contact: Barbara Spreitzer-Berent
Check out HAP Healthy Living for more information on Arthritis.
1050 Wilshire Dr. #302
Troy, MI 48084-1564