Arthritis is a debilitating condition that can make doing simple activities immensely painful.
It causes pain and inflammation in a joint which can lead to muscle weakness and restricted movements of the joints.
It’s quite common, according to the CDC about 24% of all adults in the US have arthritis.
Sadly there’s no cure for arthritis, but there are ways that you can lessen the effects of it.
So, in this article we will be discussing 10 things that may be making your arthritis worse in hopes that you can identify if any of these things are present in your life and cut them out to make your flare ups lessen.
What Is Arthritis?
There are a lot of different types of arthritis but in short the term arthritis is used to describe any pain or tenderness in one or more joints and it usually worsens with age.
The two most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
This is the most common form of arthritis, it causes the cartilage which cushions the end of the bones to break down over time.
The symptoms of osteoarthritis usually include pain, stiffness, loss of flexibility, swelling and a lot more, and you’re more likely to get it if you’re a woman, obese or through genetics.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a bit different, it is a chronic inflammatory disorder that affects not only your joints, but can affect your blood vessels, eyes, skin and other important body systems, this happens because your body mistakenly attacks your own body’s tissue.
This painful form of arthritis can cause joint deformity and eventually bone erosion.
Now that you know the most common forms of arthritis, we’ll let you know 10 things that may be causing your arthritis to worsen.
Smoking can do a lot of damage to your body anyway, so it’s not much of a surprise that it can make pre existing conditions worsen. Smoking can lead to a decrease in bone mass making osteoporosis more likely to occur, osteoporosis is when the bones weaken and they’re more likely to break.
Smoking also increases your chances of developing arthritis, so quitting is your best bet to ensure your arthritis symptoms don’t worsen or to ensure that you don’t develop arthritis.
2. A Bad Diet
Having a bad diet can lead to numerous problems with your body, and worsening your arthritis is no exception.
Eating certain foods are thought to increase inflammation in the body, these are sugar, saturated fats, alcohol, aspartame, refined carbohydrates and more.
If you have arthritis then cutting these inflammatory inducing foods out should be a must, and if you can’t cut them out completely then you should try reducing your intake of them as much as you can.
Remembering to drink the correct amount of water daily seems easy enough, but a lot of us forget to do so which can result in dehydration.
Dehydration can lead to muscle spasms and cramping which can make joint pain worse, most of your joint cartilage is made up of water, so there’s no surprise why dehydration can make your arthritis symptoms worse.
4. Forgetting To Stick To Your Treatment
This may seem obvious, but if you are given treatment to follow by your doctor you must follow it.
If you fail to take prescriptions, don’t go to your check-up appointments at the doctor or don’t exercise, this can lead to disease activity and your symptoms worsening.
If there’s any reason why you can’t follow your treatment plan, make sure to discuss these reasons with your doctor to find a solution without your arthritis becoming worse.
5. Not Exercising
Exercising may cause your joints pain, but it is the best way to maintain your bone and joint health and to also strengthen your muscles.
There needs to be a balance between the essential resting of your joints when they become too sore, and exercising them so that they don’t worsen the effects of your arthritis.
6. Doing Too Much Physical Activity
As we just mentioned in the previous bullet point, physical activity is needed to ensure your bones and joints stay healthy, but too much can cause episodes of intense pain.
You have to know your limit and respect your body’s pain signals when they’re telling you that you’re done exercising for the day, and don’t forget to rest once you’ve finished your physical activity, it’s vital!
The longer that you’re exposed to stress, the worse the damage from inflammation can be.
Many people associate their flare ups with stressful times in their life, so you don’t need to be told twice to try and keep stress levels at a minimum!
8. Forgetting To Protect Your Joints
Joint protection may be the most important thing on your treatment program. Protecting your joints will aim to reduce pain and stabilize the joints and forgetting to protect them can make the symptoms of arthritis even worse.
9. Ignoring The Symptoms Of Arthritis
When you start getting any joint pain that lasts for a while, the worst thing you can do is ignore it and put it down to an injury.
An early diagnosis will slow the disease progression and help to protect your bones and joints better, leaving it until it’s at its worst stage can make the arthritis much worse and much harder to manage.
10. Too Much Sun
Being in the sun for too long can be dangerous for anyone, but if you have arthritis, then you’ll need to take extra precautions when you’re in the sun.
Your immune system which attacks your joints makes you much more sensitive to sunlight making you much more prone to flare ups, and how humid it is outside will make you more susceptible to swelling.
This will in turn cause much more pain, so if you’re out in the sun make sure to cover up and use plenty of sunscreen.