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Understanding Arthritis in Seniors

Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more of your joints that may involve swelling, tenderness, and rigidity. The primary symptoms of arthritis are usually stiffness and pain in the joints; it gets worse as you age. These symptoms develop over a long period except on rare occasions when they appear suddenly. Anyone can have arthritis though it's common in senior people.

Types of Arthritis

There are two types of arthritis:

1.  Osteoarthritis

This type of arthritis commonly affects people who are 60 years and above. It's characterized by wear and tear of the joint cartilage. Cartilage is a connective tissue found where the bones meet. Its primary function is to cushion your bones against impact and allow for fluid joint movement.

Over time, wear and tear on the cartilage causes bones to grind against each other, resulting in excruciating pain. You can also experience such pain when you have a joint infection or injury. Osteoarthritis affects the whole joint and also damages the connective tissues that attach bones to muscles.

2. Rheumatoid Arthritis

In this case, the body's immune system attacks your synovial membrane. This membrane is the lining that surrounds all parts of the joint. As the disease progresses, it destroys the cartilage, joints, and eventually the bone.

Tips for Managing Arthritis in Seniors

After an arthritis diagnosis, there are things you can do to manage it. This means preventing additional damage to the joints and minimizing pain. Here are some tips to help you effectively manage arthritis:

1. Exercise

Exercising is essential in managing this condition since it helps keep your joints flexible and strengthen your muscles and joints. Your weight will also be in check since too much body weight stresses out your joints. If you have arthritis, it's better to exercise under a trainer's guidance.

The trainer will identify simple exercises that do not put too much stress on your already fragile joints. These low-impact exercises include yoga, swimming, and cycling. If you're a senior, a home health aide can help you do some of these simple exercises like walking. He will also help you do some stretches to help keep the joints flexible.

2. Diet

A healthy diet does a lot of good to your body, including boosting the health of your joints and bones. Further, the diet should be rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole foods. It should have more plants as they provide antioxidants that help reduce inflammation.

These antioxidants also remove free radicals from your body. Note that you should avoid eating a lot of processed foods, red meat, added sugars, and saturated fats. Salt is also bad for you as it worsens arthritic inflammation. 

3. Cold and Hot Therapy

You can use hot or cold treatments to ease arthritic inflammation and discomfort. Wrapping an ice pack around your painful joints provides some relief. Ensure that you don't apply it directly to your skin to avoid frostbite. Taking a warm shower or soaking in a warm tub also eases stiffness and reduces discomfort.

Elderly Arthritis Treatment Options

There are various treatment methods for arthritis, depending on the type. While there is no definitive treatment, there's a lot you can do to manage the symptoms. Here are some of the options to consider.

1. Physical Therapy

Physical therapy reduces joint stress. This is by providing exercises that focus on maintaining the ability to do everyday tasks like dressing and tying shoelaces. Indeed, such therapy strengthens the muscles, which in turn provide joint stability.

2. Posture Training

Your weight-bearing joints will feel much better after a session of posture training. This training focuses on identifying biomechanical issues that contribute to arthritis.

3. Medicine

Several drugs help manage arthritis aches. Over-the-counter medicine such as ibuprofen and aspirin help to alleviate arthritis pain. You may also consider prescription medication such as hydrocodone. However, before taking any drug, consult your doctor.

When the aching gets too excruciating, a corticosteroid injection is normally given at the site of the joint soreness.

All in all, arthritis is a manageable condition. Different acts of daily living such as healthy eating and frequent exercise bring this disease under control. Rarely do you need hospitalization since you can manage the symptoms from the comfort of your home.

Elite Home Health Care Will Help You Manage Arthritis

At Elite Home Health Care, we have well-trained caregivers who will better handle your arthritis while at home. We understand that arthritis can be limiting, making it hard for you to carry out simple tasks. Our skilled caregivers are there to help you live better. Contact us today for more information on arthritis management.


Written by: Yelena Sokolsky