Managing Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is one of the most common forms of arthritis. It often has an impact on the aging population. Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease which often affects the joints of the hands, feet, hips, knees and spine. Initially, osteoarthritis was thought to cause wear and tear of the cartilage in the bones. However, it was later understood that osteoarthritis occurs when the body is unable to repair the joint tissue possibly due to an injury or obesity. Overtime osteoarthritis can lead to reduced motion and mobility.

Often the signs for osteoarthritis include pain or aching, stiffness, decreased motion or swelling. There are also possible risk factors which include joint injury or overuse as one may do repetitive tasks which can increase the risk. Overtime, as we age, that can play a factor as our body begins to wear down and gender as is thought that women are at a higher risk. In addition, obesity places an individual at risk as the extra weight can place more stress on the joints.

Osteoarthritis is often diagnosed through a healthcare provider reviewing the symptoms and conducting physical examination, X-rays and lab tests. A rheumatologist is a doctor who specializes in arthritis and other related conditions.

As there is no exact cure for osteoarthritis, there are some self-management strategies that can be used to manage arthritis and its symptoms.

  1. Make sure you take part in physical activities. According to the Health Canada guidelines, for adults it is recommended that adults engage in 150 minutes of at least moderate physical activity. Some examples of moderate physical activities include walking, swimming or biking. Overtime, physical activity can aid to reduce the risk of developing other chronic conditions as well such as diabetes. To learn more about what physical activities seniors can engage in, visit our previous blogs to learn about various exercises seniors can engage in. In addition, physical activity can aid to lose weight as it can reduce the stress placed on your joints including your knees and hips.
  2. Talk to your doctor or our pharmacist at Guildview pharmacy. By speaking with healthcare providers, you can take an active role in controlling your arthritis to help create a treatment plan. This is an important step to take especially if you are an individual who also has other chronic conditions. Some examples of medication that can be prescribed include Meloxicam is a form of painkiller which is used to treat pain or inflammation due to stiffness felt in the joints. Another medication is Celecoxib which is used to reduce the pain, tenderness, swelling or stiffness in the joints due to arthritis.

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Written by: Shenen Sivakumar

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