Steps to Prevent, Delay Arthritis

May is Arthritis Action Month, and the Arthritis Foundation says there are some things you should know. Namely, within the next 20 years, 67 million people will likely have arthritis.

Currently, arthritis, which is a main contributor to disability, affects 300,000 children and one in five adults—two-thirds of whom are younger than 65. In addition, arthritis limits activity more frequently than heart disease, cancer or diabetes.

"Arthritis is serious, and it is time we move from simply being aware of the disease's existence to actually doing something about ending the threat," says Dr. Patience White, vice president of public health for the Arthritis Foundation.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to prevent or delay the onset of arthritis, especially if you have any of the warning signs, which include pain, joint stiffness, occasional swelling and/or tenderness and difficulty moving a joint.

  • Be active. Thirty minutes of exercise daily can help reduce pain and increase mobility.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Reducing weight also reduces the exertion of each knee. The organization estimates that losing 11 pounds can cut the risk of developing knee osteoarthritis by half.
  • Protect joints. Keeping the muscles around the joints strong to prevent injury is one way. Another is to use braces, canes and shoe inserts to reduce pain.

Find out more here.