I’m very privileged to present an article written by Steve Tattershall. In this article “Managing Arthritis without Drugs” he shares his profound knowledge about arthritis and how to minimize or even eliminate the development of this widespread disease.
Steve is the founder of Fail-Safe Isolation, which provides excellent in-depth information and recommendations about many isolation topics. This topic is related to isolation health issues he has written about in his blogs such as his Self-Care in Isolation article, and his personal and family experience with the disease. His past writings on health and long experience with treating arthritis make Steve Tattershall a perfect choice to have as our guest author this week.
Now, let’s read and learn about do’s and don’ts concerning Arthritis.
I’m honored to share this article on arthritis health with you here at Easy Steps for Healthy Living. Pernilla has provided powerful information here for people who are ready to live a better, healthier life, and eager to take the first steps. I am writing in that spirit to support people concerned about arthritis. If you are fortunate enough to live past 50, then you are likely to learn about osteoarthritis in your joints. This inflammatory disease is very common, especially if work or play has left you with minor joint injuries or wear and tear on your knees, hips or other joints. Medical science has many treatments available including joint replacement surgery, steroids, and non-steroidal medications; unfortunately, nearly all of these are temporary and come with side effects and a hefty bill. Fortunately, there are simple actions we can take for managing arthritis without drugs or surgery, and they don’t involve high costs or long-term drug dependence. The side effects of these actions are a healthier longer life. If you have a few minutes to spare, then you can learn about them and begin taking action today.
Healthy habits or drugs without end
Living with arthritis can be miserable, can be a sentence to life-long prescription drugs and side effects, or it can mean some lifestyle changes entirely in your hands. As we age, most of us begin doing exactly the wrong things for our general health, especially for arthritis. Because this often leads to an isolated lifestyle, I’ve blogged about health issues related to that isolation on my site like my posts on agoraphobia and on Self-care in Isolation. Whether isolated or interactive, our lifestyle choices can benefit from change for better health. And changes can be fun!
Since arthritis is an inflammatory disease, if we are to fight it, we must wage a war against inflammation. If you are like most 21st century adults, you have inflammatory habits that are not in your best interest. Let’s look at ways to transform those habits from arthritis boosting problems to arthritis health opportunities.
There are a few basic changes that can turn immune system dysfunctions and other inflammation problems around and get systems working for you. Here are those PILLARS OF ARTHRITIS HEALTH:
- Active lifestyle with healthy exercise to strengthen joints and support immune health
- Adopting healthy sleeping, resting and posture habits
- Eating healthy, non-inflammatory foods, consistently
- Removing other inflammation triggers
If you have enough determination and the right tools, habits can be changed; we will help with the tools and give you some reasons to stay motivated. If you aren’t motivated or don’t want to change your lifestyle, there are physicians and pharmaceutical companies eager to take you down the drugs-forever path. Here is an article about getting that help without getting up off the couch: Telehealth Review. If you would rather keep it all under your own control, here are the steps:
1. Healthy exercise (vs the couch potato lifestyle)
As we age, our metabolism tends to slow and our muscle mass tends to dwindle. Add in the normal injuries, diseases and aches and pains that come with time, and you have an invitation to sit more and move less. This is an unhealthy and inflammatory lifestyle that is perfect for adding fat and building more arthritis in your joints. The worst exercise is no exercise, coupled with a sedentary, isolated lifestyle; almost any exercise is better than that, so long as it doesn’t break your bones. While any low-impact exercise like swimming or riding a bike is great for arthritis and general health, do what YOU enjoy, because the key is that you must do it often. Pernilla offers a guide to regular exercise that is great for general health, weight control and arthritis in the article here.
If you get out of the house or office, walk or play and do this every day, you will improve your joint health.
2. Healthy sleep, posture and rest
Our bodies are built to recharge during healthy deep sleep each night. Nobody fully understands all the things that sleep does for us, but the problems that come from lack of sleep are generally understood, and immune system health is high on that list, as are brain health, cardiovascular health, and joint health. While our ancient ancestors slept whenever it was dark outside, averaging 8 hours or more per night, our sleep needs may vary from 6 to 9 hours per night. I know that there never seems to be enough time, and we cut down on sleep as we must get things done. You should remember that cheating your body of sleep comes at a cost, and you will pay with more illness and a shorter life; you will also pay with poor health, including joint problems, cardiovascular problems, and other inflammatory illness. Find a way to get enough sleep, and you will be able to make those waking hours more productive and fun.
Along with lack of sleep, too much sitting is another big health problem that aggravates arthritis, especially when you throw in a TV or computer screen. Sitting is the most unhealthy and inflammatory position we can adopt, yet many of us spend most of the day that way. Our bodies were designed for walking, standing and lying down – sitting was a clever if flawed invention that has gotten way out of hand. If you are to deal with arthritis, then sitting is your enemy. Find a way to walk, stand or lie down when you can, to avoid the sitting trap.
Of course, you WILL sit at times, but try to ensure that you get up regularly and move around. Time yourself so that you don’t stay seated for more than 15 minutes without a walk or other exercise. If you can have a standing desk or work table available, then using it can be a healthy decision. Enjoying more leisure time with family or friends outside or in other active play or work is a great choice. Of course walking around, stretching and doing a few exercises can offer a refreshing break from standing or sitting while working or watching entertainment or sports.
3. Eating healthy in a non-inflammatory way
There are many common eating habits found in western diets that are inflammatory with a damaging effect on osteoarthritis. At the top of the list are the worst offenders: sugar, trans-fats and highly processed foods. Keeping these vicious inflammatory villains out of our bodies is the first priority, and a great method is a Healthy Food for Your Body guide on this site. It covers most of the basics of what to eat and what to avoid. I will just add a few more that have particular power over inflammation and joint problems:
Avoid: Sugary or Artificially sweetened drinks, margarine/non-dairy creamers, milk, partially hydrogenated oils, wheat and red meat
Consume: Pure water, fresh greens, veggies, fruit, ginger, nuts, dates, fish/oil, clove oil, coconut oil, EVOO* and avocado
Tip: Try to increase consumption of greens, veggies, and fruit by blending them into green smoothies with nuts, avocado, and almond milk
While eating the right food is important, eating the right way also makes a difference. It’s important to get enough greens to provide calcium for bone health and enough cold water fish or fish oil, and to eat in a way that supports your health:
- Eat a moderate diet to support a healthy weight
- Stop eating before 8 pm so you sleep well without serious digestion process stress
- Consider following a calorie restricted or intermittent fasting lifestyle – much more natural for human biology
*Extra Vergin Olive Oil
4. Eliminate inflammation triggers
While we’ve already covered sugary foods and sedentary living, there may be other triggers for your inflammation, and you must find and eliminate them if you are to protect your joints. Some common examples are dog or cat dander, dust mites, dryer sheets, cows milk and freshly treated permanent press garments – or other things that cause an allergic response. Asthma attacks, rashes, flushing, and headaches can be symptoms of inflammatory responses, so anything that causes these reactions is a likely trigger. This doesn’t mean that the cat or bunny must go, but it does mean that he shouldn’t sleep in your bedroom, much less on your pillow if you are allergic to him. Of course, if you are severely allergic, complete separation or assistance from allergy specialist may be the only viable options.
There are places you go, spices you eat, creatures near you or other activities or environmental factors that cause a problem. If they have caused issues more than once you know what they are. The key here is to be aware, then take action to minimize your exposure to these triggers for inflammation.
So how do we make all this happen?
Understanding the problem is half the battle. The other half is changing our behaviors to achieve our health objectives. As the saying goes:
“If you keep on doing what you did, then you’ll keep on getting what you got”
It is possible to change well-established habits, but it takes real effort and determination. Fortunately, this site has help you can turn to for assistance in finding your way to making that change. Check out the HABIT CHANGER for tools to help you conquer that difficult process. If you are determined to find a healthy path away from arthritis, then you have a great shot at making it happen. But ultimately it is up to YOU. It is my hope that you succeed, and I’m willing to help, but it will be your challenge and your responsibility.
I thank you for your attention during this journey into healthy ways to minimize or eliminate the development of osteoarthritis in your joints. I’ve enjoyed sharing this information and I hope it helps you on your life journey.
Please feel free to share any thoughts, stories, or feedback with us or ask any questions you may have in the comment box below. We want your input and appreciate your wisdom, so please feel free to join the conversation.
Best wishes for your health,
About the author
Steve Tattershall is an authority on medical isolation equipment and Chief Technical Officer of Banthrax Corporation, a US-based manufacturer of medical and laboratory equipment used worldwide. A public speaker and published author, he has written, studied and consulted on technology and healthcare extensively for the last two decades. Heavily involved in research on arthritis, inflammation and related topics for his personal and family health, he also deals with these subjects in equipment application. He blogs on isolation related matters including healthy living in isolation and under crisis conditions. Steve lives with his wife, Bonnie and 2 cats (Chip and Alberta) in Southwestern Ohio, USA.
Follow his blog at Fail–Safe Isolation
Healthy Habits, Healthier Life
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