It’s easy to understand why the aches, pains and swelling from arthritis keep millions of people from being physically active. However, exercise remains an important aspect to managing arthritis.
In fact, it can reduce arthritis symptoms by up to 40 percent, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This month, federal health officials are urging Americans to try exercises such as biking, swimming and walking to improve their arthritis symptoms. Too many people are suffering from arthritis, they say. And although it affects one out of four American adults, they want everyone to know that arthritis is not a normal part of aging. The most common types of arthritis include: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus and fibromyalgia.
“Arthritis symptoms keep millions of Americans from going about their daily routines,” said CDC Acting Director Dr. Anne Schuchat, M.D. “Doctors and loved ones can help people with arthritis by encouraging them to be as physically active as they can be. Physical activity is a proven strategy to ease pain and reduce symptoms among people with arthritis.”
Consider these facts and statistics from the CDC:
- About half of adults with heart disease or diabetes have arthritis, as do one-third of those who are obese.
- About half the adults with arthritis – who also have heart disease, diabetes or obesity – have some limitation of their normal activities because of their arthritis.
- Physical activity helps manage all these conditions.
- Increased pain, fear of pain, and lack of knowledge of safe forms of physical activity can make it harder for people with arthritis to be physically active.
Aside from staying physically active and striving for a healthy weight to ease joint pain, adults with arthritis can reduce their symptoms by participating in disease management education programs.
“It’s extremely important for primary care providers to encourage their patients with arthritis to be physically active,” said CDC epidemiologist Kamil Barbour, PhD. “It is just as important for them to motivate their patients to attend workshops to learn how to better manage their arthritis.”
Source: CDC news release
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