One of the biggest misconceptions about arthritis is that it is a disease reserved for the elderly. But this is far from the truth. Although arthritis is more common among adults aged 65 years or older, research shows that nearly two-thirds of people with arthritis are younger than 65.
The effects of aging on the body
Aging may not be the leading cause of arthritis, but it does affect the musculoskeletal system in ways that can contribute to the disease.
All through our lives, our bones undergo a process known as remodeling. As we age, an imbalance develops between the components of this process leading to less dense and more fragile bones. At the same time, our cartilage goes through a process of degeneration, and our ligaments and tendons become less flexible. All of these changes in the musculoskeletal system can lead to inflammation, pain, and stiffness in the joints, which is characteristic of arthritis. However, studies show that the changes that occur in our musculoskeletal system as we age are much more likely to be down to disuse than the aging process itself.
The link between obesity and arthritis
One factor that has been known to play a role in arthritis is weight. As we get older, our metabolism slows down, our body composition changes, and we become less active. These factors increase the risk of age-related weight gain and arthritis.
However, this is not something out of your control. Experts claim that even a moderate amount of physical activity can be beneficial in reducing weight gain by slowing the loss of muscle mass and helping to stave off increases in body fat.
If you find yourself gaining weight as you age, regular exercise that includes a mix of strength, mobility, and aerobic training may be just what you need to shed the pounds and protect yourself from arthritis. If, however, you are already living with arthritis, we can help. Contact a member of the TruWell Health team today by calling our office at 727-361-2162 or by booking an appointment online.