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3 Lifestyle Changes to Slow Osteoarthritis Progression

3 Lifestyle Changes to Slow Osteoarthritis Progression

Receiving a diagnosis for osteoarthritis (OA) means you’re at risk for progressive degeneration of your joints. OA can be painful and limiting to live with. How should you handle your OA diagnosis?  

While OA can’t be cured, that doesn’t mean you should ignore treatment. At Alpenglow Pain & Wellness in Anchorage, Alaska, interventional pain physicians Dr. Nichelle C. Renk and Dr. Mary Beth Calor support their patients who are dealing with joint pain due to conditions like OA. 

With May being Arthritis Awareness Month, we want to share expert advice on living with OA and how you can slow its progression with your daily choices.

Choosing a healthy lifestyle after an OA diagnosis

OA involves more than just the inevitable wear-and-tear on your joints that happens after a full early life. We’re still learning more about all of the causes of this common degenerative condition.

Instead of letting OA worsen until you lose your full quality of life, make lifestyle changes to slow the progression of your condition. With the right lifestyle, you can take pressure off your joints, reduce inflammation in your body, and significantly slow joint degeneration.

If you haven’t been diagnosed with OA but are at a high risk due to your age, gender, or genetics, lifestyle changes can also delay or even prevent its onset. Talk to Dr. Renk about your health risks and the right approach to healthy living for your unique body, profession, hobbies, and more.

Three lifestyle changes for OA

Here are some of the ways you can stay one step ahead of OA-related joint damage.

1. Reach and maintain a healthy weight

Being overweight or obese puts unneeded pressure on your joints, especially those in your lower body, such as your knees, hips, and ankles. Did you know that a single pound of weight gain puts about four pounds of added stress on your knees? 

Weight gain also exposes your body to increased cytokines, proteins that increase inflammation and can harm the cartilage that cushions your joints.

2. Get active, and stay with it

Moving more helps to keep your body weight down, and it gives you added benefits for slowing OA progression, as well. In fact, physical activity is one of the best recommendations for joint health, whether you have OA or not. 

You need only 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five times a week to start seeing benefits for your joints.

It’s important for OA patients to avoid joint injuries. Warm up before exercising, and scale up gradually to more ambitious activity plans. 

If you experience more than moderate aches and pains after exercising, back off your activity levels. Listen to your body, and find an active lifestyle that you can maintain for years to come.

3. Watch out for high blood sugar

If your blood sugar or glucose levels are too high too often, it can cause your cartilage to stiffen and become more vulnerable to stress. 

We’re also learning more about the connection between diabetes, systemic inflammation, and joint damage. That’s why people with OA need to pay extra attention to keeping blood sugar in normal ranges.

Deciding to live a joint-healthy lifestyle can significantly slow OA damage, reducing your risk of chronic pain and preserving your independence as you age. 

Treating your OA

Dr. Renk discusses your condition with you, and she recommends strategies like lifestyle changes, physical therapy, procedures, pain psychology, and finally safe and effective medications such as Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN), topicals, NSAIDS, and muscle relaxants to maintain your quality of life after being diagnosed with OA.

To learn more about how to prevent and relieve joint pain, and how to limit the impact of your OA, contact Dr. Renk and the team at Alpenglow Pain & Wellness today. Schedule your appointment online or over the phone.

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