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Lifestyle Habits That Can Lead to Arthritis

Arthritis is the general term for inflammation affecting joints. Chemicals the body generated in response to inflammation often result in swelling that can make movements painful. While rheumatoid arthritis (the most common form of arthritis) may be genetically inherited, there are certain lifestyle habits that can also contribute to arthritis.

Being Overweight

Recent research suggests that people with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more are at an increased risk of developing RA. Excess weight places added pressure on joints, increasing discomfort. On a related note, the following foods may also contribute to arthritis pain:

• Fried and processed foods
• Sugar and refined carbs
• Salt and preservatives

Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Too much alcohol affects enzymes in the liver, which can change the way medications your loved one may be taking for arthritis behave within the body. The general rule of thumb for defining “moderation” is one drink a day for women and two for men.

Smoking

A Swedish study suggests that smoking is a contributing factor in a third of all RA cases. Smoking can also reduce the effectiveness of some arthritis medications, indirectly contributing to increased joint pain. People with a certain gene variation (HLA-DRB1) are also more likely to develop some forms of arthritis.

Lacking Sleep

A recent study links a lack of sleep to increased symptoms in RA patients. A lack of significant recuperative sleep, occurring in the REM sleep stage, can also contribute to making unhealthy eating decisions later in the day, further aggravating inflammation around joints. Toronto elder care professionals recommend adults get at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.

Stress

Any type of stress, regardless of the source, produces chemicals within the body that can make arthritis inflammation worse. While stress can’t always be avoided, yoga and other controlled forms of relaxation like light exercise and mediation can help counter the effects of daily stress.

Arthritis is often treated with either over-the-counter or prescription anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, making some lifestyle changes–with doctor approval–can help control bouts of inflammation associated with arthritis.

Often it seems the older we get the harder it is to adjust our lifestyle habits. If your senior loved one could use help grocery shopping, preparing inflammation-fighting meals, or needs additional physical support during exercise, turn to Toronto Home Care Assistance. Through our holistic Balanced Care Method, offered at no additional charge with all of our care services, we help seniors maintain a healthy diet, daily exercise, important social connections, and a sense of calm and purpose. For more information, give us a call at (416) 488-8777 and request a complimentary in-home consultation.