Managing your arthritis already takes a toll on your wallet. But a hospital stay or trip to the ER can have harmful financial consequences if you’re not vigilant. Nearly one in three Americans say they’ve been hit with unexpected medical charges in the past two years, according to Consumer Reports National Research Center. Here are some tips to help you ensure you’re not paying more than you should.
If the risks of lung disease, heart disease, cancer and bad breath weren’t good enough reasons for you to give up smoking, here’s something else you should know: Research shows that smoking is harmful to your bones, joints and connective tissue as well. No matter what form of arthritis you have, you’ll be doing your joints and yourself a favor by quitting. Here are five more reasons for people with arthritis to snuff the habit.
You know that enacting all those self-care tips will help you feel better, but sometimes it’s so hard to do what you need to. We asked our readers and followers “What do you know you SHOULD do for your arthritis, but it’s just so hard?” Here are their answers.
Research shows that people with knee pain have a 25% greater risk of falling than people without pain. It’s also been found that one in three older adults falls each year. Falls can result in severe injuries, such as hip fractures.
To reduce your risk of falling, improve your balance with exercises that build strength and flexibility, says rheumatologist Rob Keenan, MD, at Duke Medicine in Durham, North Carolina. Improving your response time – that is, how quickly you react to stop yourself from falling – also can help, explains Alexander Aruin, PhD, a professor of physical therapy and bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Here are four ways to improve your balance and response time.
It’s 2 a.m. and you’re wide awake. Your arthritis symptoms are under control. You’ve given up caffeine, naps and late-night TV, and you practice yoga and deep breathing, but these changes haven’t worked for you. Before resorting to prescription sleeping pills, consider trying one of the following natural remedies. But remember: Talk to your doctor before starting any supplement.
You probably already know that diet and arthritis symptoms are inextricably linked. Sugary, high-fat, processed foods may trigger an inflammatory response while those that are rich in anti-inflammatory compounds, such as fruits, vegetables and heart-healthy fats may help quiet symptoms.
“Each organ in the body is responsible for specific functions, but food, stress and everyday living can compromise their ability to do their jobs effectively,” explains Sonya Angelone, MS, RDN, CL, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The organs of people living with arthritis are vulnerable to suboptimal functioning, not only because of the disease itself, but also because of its treatments.
The good news: You can help support each organ system – and stave off other chronic diseases – by amping up your intake of certain foods.
The popular childhood pastime hula hooping is back as a hot fitness trend. The workouts use heavier hoops – weighing one to five pounds – in fun routines set to music, says Joanne Wu, MD, a physical rehabilitation physician at Unity Spine Center in Rochester, New York, and owner of a wellness consulting company.
Although people with balance disorders shouldn’t try hula-hooping, the exercise is a gentle way to strengthen the core. In fact, Dr. Wu recommends it for her spine patients. “Hooping itself is a low-impact exercise that’s gentle on the joints,” says Dr. Wu. “It builds balance and strength, especially in the core and legs.”
An arthritis flare, unexpected changes at home or work, even the start of a new year can create stress and anxiety. These emotions lead to depression in some people –including many who have arthritis. A 2012 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one-third of people with arthritis also have depression or anxiety.
Does your hip throb when you get in and out of the bathtub?
Are stiff fingers making it tough to prep meals in the kitchen? Whether you have osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis, some daily tasks – cooking, bathing, doing laundry and moving around the house– can become a real challenge.
You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on remodeling improvements. There are steps you can take to make your home safe and protect your joints.
“The goal is to use adaptations to preserve your ability to perform and participate in activities of daily living,” says Scott Trudeau, PhD, OTR/L, productive aging program manager at the American Occupational Therapy Association.
Here are six tips to help you prep your abode for life with arthritis.
You don’t have to paint like Picasso to benefit from drawing a picture or creating a collage. In fact, no matter your artistic skills, just the practice of making art may ease stress and arthritis pain.
A small study in the journal Art Therapy found art making – drawing, making collages or molding clay – even for just 45 minutes lowered levels of the stress hormone cortisol in people, regardless of their creative ability. And numerous studies link high levels of cortisol to inflammation and greater pain sensitivity. While some study participants found the experience relaxing, others liked the creative self-expression.