7 Ways Women Can Prevent Osteoarthritis

Fri 09 December 2016

Filed under misc

We began talking last month about 7 health concerns that women must know about as they reach middle age.

I’m sure you’ve read that women tend to outlive men. Sure we’re living longer, but that doesn’t mean we’re guaranteed our good health; unless we take care of our bodies and our mental well-being, as we reach our latter years we could be on the decline. NHS Heroes Doctors But it doesn’t have to be that way!

Take arthritis, for example:

Arthritis occurs in the body when the cartilage — the rubbery cushion in the joints that absorbs shock for the bones and allows them to glide smoothly when we move — wears away. When there isn’t enough cartilage left in the joint to protect the bones from damaging each other, it causes pain. And over 46 million Americans living with arthritis, about 61 percent of them, are women.

There are risk factors that could lead to arthritis in women. The good news is that there are risk factors that women can target for to prevent arthritis.

  1. Maintain a good body weight. Excess body weight is one of the most important risk factors for arthritis. The more pressure you put on your joints, the faster they wear out. Losing weight is one thing women can do that really makes a difference in the severity of arthritis pain. As the pounds drop, you reduce stress on your joints by lowering their workload.
  2. Give up the high heels.  Our feet were not meant to walk in high heels. In some women, frequent wearing of high heels spells trouble. Switch your heels for flats often to reduce your chances of developing arthritis and other health problems.
  3. Opt for low-impact exercise. High-impact exercise like long-distance running and soccer put a lot of stress on the joints and can wear down the cartilage faster— in essence, worsening your arthritis. Switch to swimming or biking to give your body a rest.
  4. Use better body mechanics. “Bend from the knees!” my mother would tell me.  She was right. Lifting with your knees instead of your back will reduce your chance of injury and saves cartilage.  So does carrying your purse on your forearm rather than gripping the straps with your hands.
  5. Avoid injuries. Sure, this sounds like a no-brainer, but football players aren’t the only sports enthusiasts who risk developing arthritis. If you’re doing an exercise that causes you pain the next day, you may be asking for problems.  Start any exercise program gradually, and don’t work out so hard that you’re in pain the next morning.
  6. Take Vitamin D. A full sixty percent of women are deficient in vitamin D, especially African-American women and women of menopausal age. Women who have adequate levels of vitamin D have less progression of arthritis. Talk to your doctor first; f you’re over 50 you should have your blood levels monitored because too much vitamin D can be dangerous.
  7. Drink Water. The cartilage in our joints is made up mostly of water, which is what makes it such a great cushion for the joints. When we’re dehydrated, water gets sucked out of the cartilage and it’s more easily damaged when we exercise. Keep your cartilage healthy by drinking water throughout the day.
Arthritis is all too common in women, but you can take steps now to prevent arthritis later or slow its progression.


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