Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and is the most frequent joint disorder among older Canadians. It is due to the wearing away of the cartilage that cushions and protects the bone ends where they come together in the joints. Without the cartilage to protect the bone ends, they rub together, causing friction that leads to pain and inflammation.
The warning signs of arthritis include pain in or around a joint, stiffness or difficulty moving a joint, and sometimes swelling in the joints. Not everyone with arthritis will experience symptoms right away. In some people, the symptoms don’t appear until the disease has progressed.
While approximately the same percent of men and women have arthritis, the condition affects the sexes in different ways. Women are more likely to have problems in their hands, knees, ankles, and feet, whereas arthritis is more likely to affect men’s hips, wrists, and spine.
There is currently no cure for osteoarthritis, but there are some things we can do to reduce the likelihood of developing it. Adopting a healthy lifestyle will help. This includes participating in exercises that strengthen the muscles that support the joints and maintain joint mobility. It also means maintaining a healthy weight to reduce the stress on the joints.
These lifestyle choices are also important for people who have already developed arthritis. Ask your Sobeys Pharmacists about other tips on living with arthritis—such as information on assistive devices like canes and grab bars.