Five Tips to Keep Your Joints Healthy as You Age
Joint problems like osteoarthritis, septic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, arthritis associated with gout, systemic lupus erythematosus, inflammatory bowel disease, and other autoimmune diseases are common. Some precautions must be taken during several stages of life to promote better joint health. But the following tips are limited to older people. Bone deterioration begins after the age of 25. This is when the bone-making cells called osteoblasts gradually decrease in number compared to the bone resorption cells called the osteoclasts. Thus, making the bones susceptible to fracture, inflammation, and joint pain. Moreover, bone mineral density is significantly reduced after menopause. Hence, the following tips shall help improve joint health as you age:
As you age, your joints get weaker. The bone mineral density, cartilage, and ligaments won’t be as strong as they were in your 20s. But don’t worry, strengthen your muscles so that they can support your joints that shall inevitably decline in strength. Simple exercises such as thirty minutes long walk daily, swimming, and cardio with light weight lifting can significantly improve muscle mass. This strengthened muscle can help support your joints. Aim for the bigger muscle groups such as glutei and gastrocnemius.
Most joint displacements and injuries occur because they’re unable to support the increasing weight. Unlike increased muscle mass which provides more strength and stability, fat exerts more pressure that destabilizes the joint. This may become clinically evident with unusual gaits. For better joint health, implement a healthy lifestyle with exercise and a balanced diet.
Reduced Dietary Intake of Red Meat, Seafood, and Offal
While we’re discussing the topic of diet, it is important to point out that food groups high in iron acid should be taken with caution as you age. These include Olaf, seafood, and red meat. If your dietary intake of these is more frequent, your kidneys shall not be able to excrete the massive amounts of uric acid produced. Thus shall be displaced and accumulated in your joints (usually the small bones in your foot), and can present as a painful, red swelling clinically termed gout. A balanced diet with a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian food groups is recommended.
Regular Check-ups with Your General Practitioner
As you age, you may silently develop pathological changes that haven’t been manifested as a full-blown disease yet. Hence, make regular check-ups with your doctor a habit. About joint health, your collagen levels, joint x rays, vitamin D levels, and bone mineral density assessment through DEXA scans can be very insightful for detecting early, minor changes in bone health. This can be revered with conservative management as opposed to delayed diagnosis which may require complete joint replacement.
Hot Or Cold Therapy, Chondroitin Sulphate, and Glucosamine Supplements
If despite all the other measures you do end up developing joint problems, especially osteoarthritis, then switching to basic physiotherapy can help. Cold therapy, also known as cryotherapy, has been used in inflamed and septic joints. It readily provides relief by limiting the migration of pro-inflammatory mediators through vasoconstriction. On the other hand, hot therapy is effective in rheumatoid arthritis or other joint problems where the synovial fluid is reduced. The resultant friction and wear and tear can cause pain and discomfort which can be relieved by heat therapy.
Additionally, supplements such as Chondroitin sulfate (a molecule found in cartilage) can reduce inflammation and pain in joints – which seem to be inevitable as you age. Care must be taken to avoid these supplements when you’re taking anticoagulants.
Furthermore, glucosamine is a proteoglycan with viscoelastic properties. Its oral supplements are readily absorbed by our bodies. And it helps promote joint health and stability. Again, it is better to discuss your medical history with your doctor before you start taking these supplements since glucosamine May cause insulin resistance and is contraindicated in diabetics.
In conclusion, you’re not going to have the same body at 60 as you did in your 20s. But that’s not a pessimistic thought, it’s a reality check to start making small adjustments in your lifestyle to live a life in your 60s that was as fulfilling as your life in your 20s. This means exercising regularly, eating healthy, and seeking medical advice along the way.