Three keys to lower arthritis risk

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Dr. Harsha Oza, RWJ Medical Associates, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton

Concerned about your health? Experts from Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton are ready to answer readers’ questions. Send your questions to askthedoc@rwjuhh.edu

 

My mother suffers from arthritis. Is there anything I can do to keep from developing arthritis as well?

Believe it or not, there are more than 100 different types of arthritis and arthritis-related conditions, and each type has a different set of risk factors and impacts the body in a different way.

Unfortunately, having a family history of arthritis does make it more likely that you will develop arthritis as well. Your gender and age are also common arthritis risk factors that are out of your control.

But while there is no definite way to prevent arthritis, there are still some things that you can do to lower your risk of developing it.

Eat Well. Maintain a healthy diet that’s high in Vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids. New research also suggests that diabetes can be a significant risk factor for osteoarthritis, so try to cut out the sugar as well. A healthy diet can also help you to control your weight, which keeps extra pounds from putting additional pressure on your weight-bearing joints.

Stay Active. Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times a week can strengthen the muscles that support your knees and hips, which are prime targets for osteoarthritis. But with that said, take good care to avoid injury through proper stretching, warm-up techniques and by wearing the appropriate protective gear. Severe sports injuries such as ligament tears can lead to osteoarthritis later on down the road. If you do suffer a minor or overuse injury, get it treated properly and give yourself time to rest and heal before resuming your activities.

Make Healthy Choices. As with any health condition, making simple and smart lifestyle choices goes a long way in helping to prevent arthritis. Get plenty of rest, find healthy ways to manage your stress, limit your alcohol intake and, if you are a smoker, try to quit.

—Dr. Harsha Oza, RWJ Medical Associates, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton

This content is intended to encourage a healthy lifestyle. For medical advice and treatment, see a physician. Concerned about your health? Send your questions to askthedoc@rwjuhh.edu