Can You Completely Avoid Arthritis?

The more you use things, the faster they wear out. It’s true of everything, from cars, toys, and electronics to your body parts, including your joints. As the cartilage wears down in the knees, hips, and hands, osteoarthritis sets in and pain and stiffness become a way of life. And, when you consider that nearly 54.5 million Americans suffer from arthritis, it may seem inevitable that the disease will eventually ravage your joints as well.

So, is arthritis preventable?

We get that question a lot here at Princeton Pain & Spine Institute in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. Dinash Yanamadula, MD, and our team specialize in all types of joint pain, including arthritis, and we offer effective treatments for arthritis symptoms. However, we believe it’s better to avoid arthritis altogether. But, is this possible? The answer is: It’s complicated. Here’s what you need to know.

Is arthritis completely avoidable?

To set the record straight, there’s no surefire way to guarantee that you’ll never get arthritis. There are far too many variables that contribute to the onset of the disease, and there are more than 100 types of arthritis that can affect your joints. 

But, that doesn’t mean that everyone is doomed to get arthritis. The 54.5 million arthritis sufferers we mentioned earlier works out to about 24% of the population, meaning 76% remain arthritis-free. Taking proactive steps can help you decrease your risk of developing arthritis.

How to decrease your risk of developing arthritis

Even if you have healthy joints now, you may develop it in the years to come. To understand why some people get arthritis and others don’t, it’s important to understand the risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing the disease.

Uncontrollable risk factors

There are certain aspects of your physical makeup that can make your joints more susceptible to developing arthritis, and you can’t do anything about them. These include:

You can’t modify these traits, but you can mitigate them by focusing on the factors you can control.

Controllable risk factors

Certain environments, habits, and lifestyle choices can increase your chances of getting arthritis. Dr. Yanamadula urges all patients to recognize and control these issues, such as the following:

All these situations can lead to or exacerbate arthritis, and all are preventable. If you’re serious about avoiding arthritis, give yourself an advantage by maintaining a healthy weight, protecting your joints from overuse and injury, and not smoking.

Slowing down the progression of arthritis

If you already have arthritis, there are a few things you can do to slow it down. However, the best strategies may be different for specific types of arthritis. Here are some examples:

Osteoarthritis

The most common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage inside a joint has worn down. Without the protective layer between the bones, inflammation and pain can set in. Slowing the progression of osteoarthritis requires relieving the stress on your joints, especially your knees, so losing weight is paramount.

Gout

Gout usually affects the joints in the toes, particularly the big toes. This very painful condition occurs when you have an excess amount of uric acid in your body, which then leads to urate crystals forming in a joint. Slowing down the progression of gout means you need to decrease the amount of uric acid you produce.

You can do this by limiting the foods that trigger uric acid production, including red meat, organ meat, tuna, trout, and certain shellfish. Beer and fruit juices can also contribute to high levels of uric acid.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means your immune system attacks your joints and other body parts. There’s no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but you can manage your symptoms and slow the disease’s progression by keeping inflammation at bay.

Exercising, getting quality sleep, and eating a healthy diet high in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants can help ease your pain and stiffness. And by all means — don’t smoke!

These are just three of the many types of arthritis. However, Dr. Yanamadula can help you determine your risk factors for developing arthritis, help you learn how to avoid them if possible, and offer treatments if you already have arthritis. 

To learn more about arthritis or to get treatment, book an appointment online or over the phone with Princeton Pain & Spine Institute today.

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