Once thought to be an inevitable part of aging, arthritis is a complex condition that has many causes. If your elderly loved one has a family history of arthritis, he or she may not be able to completely prevent it. The staff at Phoenix Home Care Assistance has some tips to help reduce your loved one’s discomfort or prevent the condition for a longer period of time.
Control Blood Sugar Levels
Studies have found high blood sugar levels can lead to arthritis. When blood sugar levels get too high, they speed the formation of molecules that stiffen cartilage and increase its sensitivity to mechanical stress. Diabetes can also trigger inflammation that decreases the amount of cartilage in the body. If your loved one has diabetes, encourage him or her to manage blood sugar levels through exercise, a healthy diet, and medications.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Extra weight on the body puts additional pressure and stress on weight-bearing joints, which include the knees and hips. For every pound gained, the body experiences four times the weight on the knees and six times the weight on the hips. If your loved one has gained weight, he or she can reduce the risk of arthritis by losing weight. If your loved one is already at a healthy weight, encourage him or her to maintain it.
Many doctors believe the best prevention and treatment for arthritis is regular exercise. Exercising for 30 minutes 5 days a week can keep your loved one’s joints limber, strengthen his or her muscles, and help stabilize the hips and knees. If your loved one doesn’t currently exercise, encourage him or her to begin slowly before increasing his or her pace to prevent injuries from occurring.
Eat a Nutritious Diet
A balanced diet with whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy oils, and lean meats can help your loved one’s joints work better. Including fish as part of a healthy diet is especially important for senior women. A study published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases found women who ate fish regularly had a decreased risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers believe the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish can reduce inflammation in the cartilage and joints.
If you’re concerned about your loved one’s risk of developing arthritis, these lifestyle changes may help prevent the condition, and having a professional caregiver in the home can make these changes easier. At Home Care Assistance, our caregivers are available 24/7 to help with exercise, meal prep, and many other tasks. We also offer comprehensive stroke, dementia, and Parkinson’s care in Phoenix. For more information on our senior care services and to schedule a free consultation with one of our Care Managers, call 602.388.1085 today.