An elderly personal alarm with automatic fall detection can detect a fall and call for help without you needing to push the button. This is vital is you are unconscious or immobile following a sudden illness or a fall. The call will automatically go through to either your nominated contacts or a SureSafe operator, depending on which service you have chosen. You will be able to get the help you need fast, even if you are unable to press the button.
How to Prevent Elderly ArthritisArticle by Daniel Westhead
The prevalence of elderly arthritis is on the rise. Understanding what it is, and the underlying causes can help you take action now to reduce your risks.
According to recent research from Keele University, the number of people living with arthritis rose by 40% between 2004 and 2020. More than 1% of all adults and 2.5% of elderly people over the age of 65 had been diagnosed with some form of arthritis.
With an aging population and changes to our lifestyles, more and more people are living with these conditions. It’s putting the NHS under greater strain and can impair your quality of life.
However, while many types of arthritis can be unavoidable, there are some things which you can do now help to reduce your risks of developing it.
Preventing arthritis starts by understanding exactly what it is. For many people, it’s simply a condition that comes with getting older. However, more people are developing it earlier in their lives thanks to changes in our diet, a lack of exercise, and other lifestyle factors.
Arthritis is a common condition in which people experience pain caused by inflammation of the joints. The most common types are osteoarthritis which most often develops in people in their mid-forties and older. However, it can also develop at any age and is more common in people with a family history of the condition. Additionally, injury to joints is another factor which can increase the risk of developing the condition.
Rheumatoid arthritis, meanwhile, is an autoimmune disease in which your system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake causing inflammation and pain. It normally attacks your joints and can affect many different parts of the body at the same time
Weight and arthritis
There is a direct relationship between your weight and your chances of developing arthritis. The more overweight you are the more pressure is being placed on your joints and the more likely they are to wear out more quickly.
Extra fat can also accelerate the condition. Fat is an active chemical and constantly releases inflammation-causing proteins. These proteins can travel throughout your body causing inflammation everywhere they go including in your joints.
By maintaining a healthy bodyweight, you will reduce the amount of fat in your body and lighten the burden on your joints. If you already have a family history of the condition it can slow its spread or stop it in its tracks completely.
How exercise helps to prevent arthritis
A good way to reduce your weight is with a bit of exercise. Moreover, not only does this keep your weight down and reduce the loads coming to bear on your joints, but it can also strengthen your joints and make them more resilient against natural wear and tear.
Strength training will work your joints and help them to become stronger. The simplest exercises are those which use your body’s own weight such as leg extensions or push-ups.
Endurance exercises such as walking or swimming also strengthen the muscles around your joints, making them more stable and more durable.
Exercise, when done in the right way, can also increase the flexibility of your joints, keeping them flexible and mobile. It is increasingly important as you age as it can be easy to lose mobility in your joints without regular exercise. Take a look at some of the best exercises for older people.
Exercise, though, is not universally beneficial. Researchers have found that elite athletes can be at a greater risk of developing arthritis in later life. Excessive or overly strenuous exercise can place more strain on your joints causing them to wear out more quickly.
Injury can be particularly problematic and those athletes who were prone to injury during their career are especially likely to develop problems in later life. When your joints are injured, it can damage the cartilage in your joints accelerating the onset of any degenerative joint conditions.
While no one can avoid injury completely throughout their life, it’s wise to ensure that you take a care when exercising or playing sports. If you’re a little older, it may be worth considering choosing exercises that don’t put a lot of pressure onto your joints.
Diet and arthritis
As with many things, a good healthy diet can do wonders. Simply by eating the right things and controlling calorie intake, you can keep your weight under control and reduce the build-up of fat. In terms of specific ingredients, you should keep up your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. These help your body in a number of ways including reducing inflammation.
The most common source of omega 3 is fish, but if you’re vegetarian you can also find it in alternative sources such as eggs, juices, soy drinks, nuts, seeds, flaxseeds, chia and plant oils. You can also find it in supplements. These include cod liver oil, as well as non-fish-based supplements for vegans and vegetarians.
Nutritional needs for older adults can be different to when we are younger, so boosting your diet with supplements can help to ensure that you are best placed to prevent developing arthritis or other conditions.
Stopping smoking is a good idea for all sorts of reasons, but one of the best is to reduce the risk of arthritis. Data suggests smokers have double the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis for men and 1.3 times the risk for women. Smoking can affect the way the immune system works adding to the risk of dysfunction.
Worse still smoking can also affect how well you respond to treatment if you do develop arthritis. Evidence suggests smokers are less likely to respond to both first- and second-line treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. This might be because smoking dampens the effectiveness of anti-rheumatic drugs. As smoking weakens the immune system, it also makes it more difficult to recover from disease in general.
Watch your posture
One possible reason for the rising rates of arthritis is our sedentary lifestyle. Many of us spend much of our time working in offices – often in cramped and uncomfortable positions. It can place strain on joints causing soreness and discomfort.
If you work in an office, you can make changes to your desk and seating position to be more ergonomically effective. Making sure your back and legs are well supported and avoiding strain on the neck will make you more comfortable in the short term, and may reduce your long-term risks of developing conditions such as arthritis.
Managing your risks as an elderly person
Arthritis is something that some of us are more susceptible to than others. Nevertheless, what we do when we’re younger can affect our chances of developing the condition in later life and how we respond to treatment. However, as an elderly person you can still manage your risks.
In most cases, these are also the kind of things you should be doing to improve your general health and well-being. Simple things such as watching your weight, managing your diet, and staying active can keep your body in good condition and manage all sorts of different risk factors.
For those who exercise regularly though, the impact of injuries should not be underestimated. It is important to understand the strains your body is under and manage training loads accordingly. Too much exercise can often be almost as damaging as too little.
Here at SureSafe we provide a wide range of personal alarms that can help those who suffer from arthritis to feel more secure that, should they fall or get into difficulties that help is always on hand. Get in touch with us on 0800 112 3201 to learn more about the best options for you or your loved one.