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Osteoarthritis: causes and symptoms. What are the healthy habits to adopt to prevent and facilitate the management of the symptoms that characterize this disease.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, a chronic disease that compromises the health of the joints. It occurs when the cartilage that cushions the bones in the joints wears down, causing the bones to rub against each other. Several factors can determine the onset of osteoarthritis: high physical impact jobs, previous joint injuries, age and genetics, obesity, etc. The most common symptoms include: pain, stiffness and difficulty in performing movements.
Osteoarthritis, treatments and prevention
Unfortunately, there is no cure to permanently combat this disease, but some healthy habits can prevent its development. Although the severity of the disease varies from patient to patient, in any case it causes a deterioration in terms of quality of life. In recent times, research has taken important steps to keep this disease under control. In addition to the classic treatments that involve taking analgesic drugs, it is possible to adopt some habits to improve symptoms.
Physical activity facilitates the health of the body and in particular that of the joints, improving their mobility.
In fact, the pain caused by osteoarthritis often limits the ability to perform certain exercises! In any case, it is good to try not to remain inactive since the mobilization of the joint promotes trophism.
Exercising regularly helps strengthen the muscles around the joints by slowing down complications related to the disease. The physical activity indicated in osteoarthritis consists of low-impact aerobic exercises. 20-30 minutes of physical activity a day are enough; activities such as walking, swimming or stretching can be performed.
In case of knee osteoarthritis it is advisable to use a bicycle, since the muscle works anyway but the knee is unloaded; the joint does not have to bear all the body weight.
The prevention of osteoarthritis is based on the control of risk factors; overweight or obesity are factors that can favor the deterioration of the joints. Therefore, those with overweight problems must adopt a new lifestyle that includes weight loss. A healthy weight reduces the pressure on the joints, which means less painful episodes. It also reduces the risk of other complications, such as cardiovascular disease or metabolic syndrome.
It is now known that insomnia and sleep disorders can compromise the quality of life. Science tells us that we should sleep between seven and nine hours a night, but pain often doesn't allow us to rest well. Too bad, because sleep offers incredible health benefits: it helps reduce swelling and inflammation in the joints and also helps you lose weight. If you have trouble sleeping, here are some tips:
- Make sure there is a comfortable environment in the room
- Do not also use the room for work.
- Avoid devices such as computers, mobile phones or tablets before going to bed
- Eat sleep-inducing foods
- Dine light, opting for low-calorie foods
- Drink relaxing infusions before going to bed. Passion flower tea or valerian are indicated.
Drink natural infusions
Medicinal infusions cannot in any way replace the drug treatment prescribed by your doctor. However, their use can be of great benefit due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Those particularly suitable are: turmeric infusion, ginger, green tea.
Do heat or cold therapy
Hot and cold therapy can help keep the inflammatory process involving the joints under control, helping to treat osteoarthritis. Heat helps dilate blood vessels, improving circulation. In this way, the passage of nutrients to the affected tissues is facilitated. The heat also generates a calming effect that reduces the sensation of stiffness.
With cold therapy, however, the blood vessels narrow and therefore swelling and pain decrease. But let's see how to perform these treatments:
Apply a hot water bag or a thermal pillow to the affected area. Alternatively, moisten a towel with warm water, making sure you don't get burned. Continue with heat therapy for about 15 minutes then take a short break and then repeat the treatment
In this case, just wrap some ice cubes in a cloth to apply to the affected area for 20 minutes.