As communities continue to practice self-isolation and restrictions related to the pandemic, it’s important to take time to focus on our individual health. We observe social distancing to help prevent the spread of illness, which in turn may have an effect on other conditions, including joint health. May is Arthritis Awareness Month, and even if you are not living with this disease it’s important to know whether or not you will be at risk.
According to the Center for Disease Control, 26% of adults in the United States are projected to be diagnosed with arthritis by 2040 – this is approximately 78 million people. Nearly ten years ago, almost half of reported cases of arthritis were attributed to people aged 65 and older. Advanced age is one risk factor for arthritis, but turning 65 doesn’t necessarily mean you will become part of this statistic. Other signs can let you know if you are at risk of degenerative joint health.
Some warning signs may alert you to make lifestyle changes to prevent the severity of arthritis. They include:
- Lifestyle habits: Smokers are more at risk of rheumatoid arthritis than those who don’t. People who are overweight may also be likely to develop arthritis due to stress on joints like the knees. Changes in lifestyle – regular exercise and quitting tobacco – may help lower the risk as you age.
- Work: Heavy lifting and other tasks that put stress on your back, legs, and arms can lead to stiffness and pain if your workplace does not observe safety measures. Even non-labor intensive jobs like office work pose problems for joints. Ergonomic equipment and proper posture while sitting can help ease discomfort while you’re on the clock.
- Health history: Some viruses can contribute to health problems that lead to arthritic pain, and joint stiffness can result from past injuries sustained during sports-related or workplace accidents. Consult with your physician if you have experienced joint pain believed to have originated from such events.
At Bon Secours Virginia Orthopaedic & Spine Specialists, our physicians and therapists provide care to patients living with arthritis and other types of joint pain brought on by age, illness, injury, or genetic factors. Contact us today with your questions or to learn more about your options for joint replacement and other procedures.