Of all the forms of arthritis in older adults, osteoarthritis is the most prevalent. Affecting both men and women, it is estimated that 12.4 million individuals over 65 years old are affected by the disease. It is a frequent cause of physical disabilities for older adults.
The way the disease progresses is that cartilage, which is the cushioning for the ends of the bones in a joint, breaks down or wears away. For some people, all of the cartilage may have worn away, causing the bones to rub against each other. This is a very painful condition.
The symptoms that occur may be mild pain which will come and go or severe pain in the joints. The joint most often affected are the neck, lower back, hands, joints that bear weight such as hips, knees and feet. Because of the nature of osteoarthritis, only the joints are affected, not any internal organs.
What does all this mean to an in-home care provider?
As caregivers for the elderly, it helps us better understand why seniors may be experiencing joint pain. Our caregivers will make sure they are getting the diet and exercise that will help to avoid or stall the progression of this condition.
Avoiding joint problems such as osteoarthritis:
- Women who are overweight have 4 times greater risk of developing this condition
- Men who are overweight have a 5 times greater risk
- The knees are the largest joint in the human body and most susceptible to arthritis because of the load they constantly carry – you.
- Exercise regularly to keep the body fit and the muscles strong.
- Avoid repetitive joint overuse
- Have a diet that is healthy in a variety of minerals
- Avoid inflammation
- Avoid eating too much red meat which can drain the body of nutrients and produce the wrong acid/alkaline balance
Healthy Diet for Health Bones
The following 11 foods are good for building and maintaining strong bones:
- Eat vitamin D fortified yogurt for a good source of both calcium and vitamin D. (Greek yogurt has more protein and less calcium and vitamin D as conventional yogurt.)
- Milk (if you aren’t a dairy consumer, try other milks that have good calcium levels. For example, soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, hemp milk, etc.)
- Eggs (whole eggs; all the vitamin D is in the yolk. Cut your calories elsewhere.)
- Fortified cereal
- Collard greens
- Oranges or orange juice