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Preventing and managing arthritis

November 11, 2021 at 10:00 p.m. | Updated November 12, 2021 at 7:57 a.m.

In 1959, funnyman Jack Benny was appointed Chief Justice of the "Ancient and Independent Province of Beverly Hills." He told the audience, "I don't deserve this award, but I have arthritis and I don't deserve that either."

No one deserves arthritis, but it's a major cause of disability in the U.S., affecting more than 58 million people ages 18 and older, according to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. Osteoarthritis -- a degenerative joint condition that affects hands, knees, hips, the lower back and neck -- is the most common form.

In the old days, it was thought of as a wear-and-tear problem, but we now know it's an active inflammatory disease, affecting bone, cartilage, ligaments, fat and tissue lining a joint.

Obesity and unmanaged stress are major, modifiable causes -- because of the inflammation they trigger. Weak muscles and a genetic predisposition can also lead to arthritis. Although more common in people over age 50, any joint injury -- a torn ACL or meniscus -- can progress rapidly to arthritis. Once it develops, arthritis can trigger depression and anxiety. And around half of folks with diabetes or heart disease also have arthritis, increasing immobility.

Your best solutions:

1. Physical activity -- it can slash pain and increase joint function by 40%.

2. Taking a chronic disease self-management program. Check out eblcprograms.org/evidence-based/map-of-programs.

3. Physical therapy. It can ease pain, increase mobility and strengthen muscles.

4. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet (no red or processed meats, no added sugars or ultraprocessed foods.

5. Weight loss, if needed, and control of blood glucose levels.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer Emeritus at Cleveland Clinic.

(c)2021 Michael Roizen, M.D.

and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

King Features Syndicate

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