Prevent Osteoarthritis with Movement and Food

I absolutely love working with Sunwarrior. It is a young, dynamic, forward-thinking company with unsurpassed natural health products and an unlimited future. The demographic of our average customer is young, active, health conscious, and driven, with slightly more females than males. I want to depart from that “young” part for a moment.

Dr-Weston-ambassador-photo2I am a card carrying member of a huge club now, known as the “Baby Boomers.” I assure you that it’s not by choice, it just means that we were born between 1946 and 1964, and in the U.S. there are almost 80 million of us. In reality, I guess none of us should resent growing older, because it is a privilege denied to so many. There is much to look forward to as you age, like watching your children grow and succeed, playing with your amazing grandchildren, having more flexibility and independence, and enjoying travel and hobbies. I’ve found that I sometimes don’t know how to act my age because I’ve never been this age before.

With all the good things to look forward to in the approaching “Golden Years,” there are also the liabilities like receding gums and hairline, visual squinting, asking others to repeat what they just said, and having to visit the bathroom multiple times a night. And frankly, these are the easy stuff.

Did you know that Baby Boomers are thirteen times more likely to be diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, and have significantly higher rates of cardiovascular disease, all types of cancer, depression, and that by age 80, 50% have cataracts, osteoporosis, and osteoarthritis?

From our earliest years, lifestyle choices have long-term ramifications for our health. This is particularly true for our joints. Osteoarthritis is caused by a breakdown of the cushioning tissues in the joints, causing swelling, stiffness, inflammation, and pain as the bones rub together. A minimal amount of arthritic change is normal through the years, due to wear and tear, but much can be done to minimize swim_goggles_picthe degree and symptoms, as well as maintain function. There are some sensible things you can do, starting when you’re young, that will help keep your joints doing what they were designed to do: move without pain.

Joints are made for motion; they’re meant to be used. However there’s a real difference between use and abuse. Too much weight loading and pounding on the joints is damaging and will have a cumulative effect. Low impact, full-range of motion activities aid with circulation, help to transport nutrients in and toxins out of the joint capsules, and strengthen the supportive soft tissues. Walking, swimming, yoga, and Pilates are examples of joint friendly activities. Dirt biking, MMA fighting, bucking bronc, and bull riding, maybe not so good.

Interestingly, diet may be more important in slowing arthritic change in the long run than most people realize. Not only do foods provide the basic building blocks for the joint tissues, but have a dramatic effect on inflammation in the body that degrades the joint cartilage. Inflammatory foods are those that are fried and processed, animal products including dairy, excess salt, sugar, refined carbohydrates, and soda. Whereas foods that are anti-inflammatory and that increase the health of joint tissues are antioxidants and bioflavonoids contained in fruits and vegetables; beta-carotene in the red, orange, and yellow plant foods; omega 3 fatty acids; vitamins C and D; and calcium. Nutritional supplements of glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, and SAMe are cartilage friendly.

vegetable_soup_tomatoes_carrots_portatoes_cucumbers_picOnce there is injury or arthritic changes already occurring there are still steps you can take to mitigate the damage. The first response when there is inflammation or swelling is to use ice in 20 minute applications, followed 48 to 72 hours later by equal length sessions of mild heat. There are topical creams and ointments that have analgesic and thermotherapy qualities. There are over-the-counter meds that are mild analgesic and anti-inflammatory that should only be used sparingly. Other non-invasive approaches to joint pain and improved function are modalities such as acupuncture, physical therapy, chiropractic, electrotherapy, and laser treatment. As an absolutely last resort should surgery and joint replacement be used. Take it from one who knows first-hand, “Ain’t nothin’ like the real thing.”


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Disclaimer

Claims on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA. Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We encourage you to do your own research.. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.

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