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, 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, such as a torn ACL or meniscus, can progress rapidly to arthritis.
Once it develops, arthritis can trigger depression and anxiety. And around half of people with diabetes or heart disease also have arthritis, decreasing their mobility.
Your best solutions:
1. Get physical activity, which can reduce pain and increase joint function by 40%.
2. Take part in a chronic disease self-management program.
3. Undergo physical therapy to ease pain, increase mobility, and strengthen muscles.
4. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet (no red or processed meats, no added sugars, no ultra-processed foods).
5. Lose weight, if needed, and monitor blood glucose levels.