The myths about osteoarthritis are too numerous to count. Many that are widely believed may be keeping an Indiana senior from discussing their arthritis struggles with their primary care physician. Because the hot, humid days of summer in the Hoosier state can worsen some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis, we decided it was time to help separate fact from fiction about this disease.
Arthritis Mythbusters for Older Adults in Indiana
MYTH: Exercising puts more stress on damaged joints. It can make the pain even worse.
FACT: According to the experts from the Mayo Clinic, exercise is “crucial” for people with arthritis. It is one of the best ways to manage the pain and symptoms of the disease. No-impact exercise programs such as swimming, Pilates or yoga build muscle around damaged joints while also promoting flexibility. Both help minimize inflammation and arthritis pain.
MYTH: I eat comfort foods to help me feel better when my arthritis is getting me down.
FACT: A poor diet can impact arthritis pain and symptoms in a variety of ways. Salty snacks and sugary treats can make inflammation worse. An unhealthy diet is also linked to obesity. For every ten pounds you are overweight you put thirty to sixty pounds of extra pressure on your knees making the damaged joints more painful.
MYTH: My neighbor cured his arthritis by taking glucosamine supplements.
FACT: Despite what the print ads and infomercials say, glucosamine cannot rebuild joints damaged by arthritis. The supplements may offer short-term pain relief, but they are not a cure for osteoarthritis.
MYTH: While there are many types of arthritis, none of them can be treated.
FACT: Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis among seniors, but there are over 100 other types of this disease. Other forms of the disease include psoriatic arthritis, Raynaud’s phenomenon, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, scleroderma and more. While most can’t be cured, the symptoms for many can be treated.
MYTH: My family doctor tells me to take an over-the-counter pain reliever for arthritis. I think that is as good as it gets with this disease.
FACT: If your primary care physician isn’t experienced in working with the health challenges of older adults, they may not be up-to-date on the best ways to manage arthritis. It might be time to consult a Rheumatologist. These doctors specialize in diseases that impact joints and muscles. He or she may be able to make recommendations that can help to improve your quality of life.
Learn More About Living with Arthritis
To learn more about how you or an Indiana senior loved one can better manage this often debilitating disease, visit the resource center at the Arthritis Foundation. Living with Arthritis was created to help older adults and caregivers cope with the everyday challenges this disease often creates.