Arthritis: Not Just for the Elderly!
By Sara Butler
When someone says “arthritis,” it conjures thoughts of white-haired older folks. Osteoarthritis (the technical name for arthritis) can actually happen to people in their 20s. It really goes to show that arthritis should be on your radar no matter your age. Here’s what arthritis is and what you can do to care for your joints no matter what stage of life you’re in.
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is also knowns as degenerative joint disease. The cartilage that helps to cushion and protect the joints slowly wears away, getting worse as time goes on. This is the most common form of arthritis, and impacts about 30 million adults in the United States every single year, most commonly affecting the knees, hips, hands, and spine.
When discussing symptoms, it’s important to understand that age will have an impact on the kind of symptoms experienced. The younger a person is, the more load-bearing joints such as the hips, knees, and ankles will be affected. And symptoms can vary from joint to joint, too. In younger people, look for mechanical symptoms such as:
- Persistent joint pain
It’s uncommon but not unheard of for younger people to experience joint deformities too, but it’s usually a sign of more advanced arthritis.
Risk Factors for Early Onset
If you have a close family member who suffers from arthritis, then there’s a increased chance you’ll develop it as well. For example, if your grandmother has arthritis in her knees and you experience persistent knee pain, then you may be developing arthritis in your knees.
Being overweight is a risk factor that increases the risk of developing arthritis in load-bearing joints too. Maintaining a healthy weight is an important way to decrease the likelihood of developing arthritis since excess body weight can increase the rate of wear and tear on the cartilage in the joints. Knees and ankles are especially susceptible to this.
What You Can Do
One of the best things you can do to help you manage osteoarthritis symptoms is to see the chiropractor. They can help you determine what lifestyle factors may be having an impact on your symptoms and what can be done to slow down the process. Also be aware that while exercise is important for your overall health, it can contribute to arthritis. High-impact workouts, especially, should be done with care if you’re experiencing early onset arthritis symptoms.
To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic.