Sometimes, we are too busy with the daily activities that we forget how to take care of our health. Until one day, we realized that something seems wrong. We may feel pain in some areas of our bodies, fatigue, strains, and muscle stiffness. All these may be related to our work and lifestyle. One common health issue that people are experiencing is degenerative joint disease. You might hear it already, but it will also help you get familiar with some tips on how to prevent it.
What is Degenerative Joint Disease?
Degenerative joint disease, also called joint degeneration, is another term for osteoarthritis. It refers to the condition where the joints wear or tear down, causing the bones to rub against each other. Individuals who have degenerative joint disease usually experience pain, swollen joints, and joint stiffness.
According to Medicine.net, Osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease, is mainly caused by inflammation. It also mentioned:
"Osteoarthritis is a progressive form of arthritis characterized by the breakdown of the cartilage in joints. Osteoarthritis (OA), also known as degenerative joint disease and "wear and tear" arthritis, causes pain in the joints with activity. The knees and the hips are common locations for Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is common in people over 60 years of age, but it can affect younger people, particularly where they have had a joint injury or joint surgery."
The risk of degenerative joint disease is often related to aging, gender, genetics, injuries, and congenital disabilities.
Mayo Clinic also stated that degenerative joint diseases could damage any joint in your knees, hands, spine, and hips.
"Osteoarthritis symptoms can usually be managed, although the damage to joints can't be reversed. Staying active, maintaining a healthy weight, and some treatments might slow the progression of the disease and help improve pain and joint function", an article by Mayo Clinic stated.
As mentioned previously, Osteoarthritis has often been referred to as a "wear and tear" disease. But besides the breakdown of cartilage, Osteoarthritis affects the entire joint. It causes changes in the bone and deterioration of the connective tissues that hold the joint together and attach muscle to bone. It also causes inflammation of the joint lining.
Risk Factors of Degenerative Joint Diseases
Osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease often happens when the cartilage that holds the ends of the bones in the joints start to deteriorate. Cartilage refers to the slippery yet firm tissue that allows almost frictionless joint movements. Gradually, the cartilage tears and wears down, and then the bones will rub against each other.
The following are the risk factors for this disease:
- Aging (you become more at risk of degenerative disease as you grow older)
- Injuries (such as those acquired from an accident or while playing sports)
- Sex (women are observed to be more likely to develop degenerative diseases)
- Weight issues (Extra body weight can also cause degenerative disease since additional weight can add stress to joints like on the knees and hips)
- Genetics (if you have family members with a degenerative disease, then you may also be at risk)
- Repeated stress that affects the joints (like activities on jobs, sports, etc.)
- Bone deformities and abnormalities
- Some metabolic diseases
Learning more about these risk factors can help you stay away from the risk of getting a degenerative disease, as well as other related health problems.
Symptoms of Degenerative Joint Disease?
To identify if you have a degenerative disease, the following are the symptoms that you should be aware of:
- Soreness and aches of joints while moving
- Joint stiffness after a long period of inactivity
- Enlargements of the middle and end joints of the fingers
- Loss of flexibility or unable to move the joints on its full motion range
- Feeling of tenderness when light pressure is applied to the joints
- Hard lumps around the affected joints, also known as bone spurs
- Swelling due to tissue inflammation
- Grating sensation, crackling and popping noise on the joints
Degenerative diseases are not associated with weight loss, fever, and anemia. However, when these symptoms are present with osteoarthritis, this can be caused by other health conditions.
The symptoms of degenerative disease can develop from mild to worse over time. This is why consulting a doctor is always advised.
5 Ways to Avoid Degenerative Joint Disease?
Preventing disease is also avoiding the worst health issues that you can further experience. Here are some helpful tips to consider:
#1 Keep a healthy diet and lifestyle
The types of foods you consume and the lifestyle you live both have a significant impact on your health. An unhealthy diet can worsen the condition. Healthline.com mentioned in one of its articles some foods that should be avoided to avoid degenerative joint disease. These include foods rich in sugar, processed red meats, highly processed foods, a gluten-containing diet, foods high in salt and alcohol. These foods and beverages can worsen inflammation, especially if you are at risk of degenerative joint disease.
It will be helpful if you can do some exercises for you to stay active and healthy. Start an exercise program to be done regularly. You can include in your exercise program activities like walking, running, hiking, aerobics, and sports. Not only will they help you burn calories and maintain your ideal weight, but it will help you feel better every day.
#3 Use standing desks and other ergonomic accessories
It is also imperative to have a clear understanding of how to avoid a sedentary lifestyle at work and home. Being sedentary can make you at risk of health conditions such as musculoskeletal disorders, headaches, strain, fatigue, and more. It is recommended to use standing desks and ergonomic accessories like vertical mouse and ergonomic chair. These items should be included in the workplace because they can help prevent issues such as joint pain, muscle pain, stiffness, and pain of the muscles.
#4 Maintain an ideal weight
Make sure to get your ideal weight. As mentioned previously, weight issues can be a risk factor in acquiring a degenerative joint disease. This can be achieved successfully by following a healthy diet and an active lifestyle.
#5 Consult a physician
Consulting a physician for a regular checkup will help evaluate your overall health. Doing so will let you know if you are prone to getting a joint disease and other health problems. Also, your doctor will give you the best advice on how you can prevent degenerative joint disease.
Health is wealth, as the famous saying goes. Despite the busy work schedules and the toxic environment we have now, we can still do some measures on how to safeguard our overall well-being. Our daily activities can bring various diseases, so make sure we are well-informed about them. For instance, the degenerative joint disease can affect our performance at work and home, so learning how to prevent it would definitely bring a ton of benefits.