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Weeklong Series on Arthritis: Arthritis Part Five

| November 25, 2013


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Arthritis is the cause of more than 500 thousand hospitalizations a year. In the final installment we examine  PREVENTION and how people can avoid THE PAIN of becoming a statistic. While more than 8 million adults and 300 thousand kids in the U.S. suffer from some sort of arthritis, the root causes of this disease remain unknown. However, doctors CAN PINPOINT what happens to the body to diagnose the disease. Arthritis involves the breakdown of cartilage. Cartilage normally protects a joint, allowing it to move smoothly. Cartilage also absorbs shock when pressure is placed on the joint, such as when you walk. Without the normal amount of cartilage, the bones rub together…causing pain, swelling or (inflammation), and stiffness. That’s known as ARTHRITIS. Healthcare practitioners say EXERCISE is the best way to reverse the disease. Bradley Ala is a Physical Therapist for the Aroostook Medical Center and says “it helps to stabilize the joint and movement of the joint helps to decrease pain through different neurological pathways and also helps the cartilage by pumping out these inflammatory proteins.” Ala says THERE ARE ways to prevent the onset of arthritis. Along with regular exercise he says its important to live a healthy lifestyle, which also includes a nutritious diet. The goal…to maintain a healthy weight. He says being overweight or obese can impact arthritis. “Anytime a person is heavier you’re putting more force through the joints its going to wear away the cartilage on the bones quicker and cause more pain,” says Ala. Like other chronic conditions such as heart disease, COPD chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, bronchitis…ARTHRITIS can have family ties. Ala says one way to prevent being diagnosed with the disease later on, is to find out if it runs in the family. That might include having a physical exam which might show:

•Fluid around a joint

•Warm, red, tender joints

•Difficulty moving a joint (called “limited range of motion”)

“its very important to see your doctor early on get screened for arthritis and make modifications from there,” says Ala. Overall Ala says people shouldn’t ignore any joint pain warning signs. He says if you maintain a healthy lifestyle, arthritis is one of many health problems you can avoid. “You wanna try to stay ahead of it, even educating your children on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, healthy diet and proper amount of exercise,” says Ala.


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