Orthopedic News and Events

Lifestyle Changes Improve Joint Health

Suzanne Graziano, RN

Keeping our bones and joints healthy is easy by living and enjoying a balanced lifestyle which includes good nutrition and exercise, according to Suzanne Graziano, RN, MSN, ONC, NE -BC, CNAT Director of Orthopedics.

She explained that the most common type of joint problems is associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. In face, osteoarthritis is the leading form of arthritis affecting 27 million Americans. Joint cartilage damage results in bone-on-bone friction and wear causing pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion to a joint. Most commonly affected joints are knees and hips. Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disease now affecting 1.3 million Americans. The body's immune system attacks joints and inflames the synovial fluid to our joints causing extreme pain and damage.

There are risk factors chat we can't control such as our heredity, increasing age, previous injury to joints, or congenital issues such as insufficient early bone development.

However, we do have control over our lifestyle habits by consuming nutritious foods, participating in physical activity at least five times per week while avoiding repetitive motion or overexertion, maintaining a healthy weight, quieting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption.

"Nutrition is the foundation of our health and 80% of our health is determined by our nutrition. Stay away from foods chat could trigger inflammation such as fried foods, red meat, dairy products, all trans fats and foods chat have additives or are processed;' Graziano said.

The number one ingredient in many diet sodas and diet produces is aspartame , an artificial chemical sweetener, she added. It destroys bone health and the synovial fluid chat provides joints with the nutrients needed to work properly. Diet products should be avoided.

Healthy nutrition includes eating at least five servings of fruits and veggies each day. Any type of berries, avocados, papaya, pineapple, figs and greens (such as kale, spinach, and lettuce) provide nutrients for maintaining joint health.

We should also add to this list foods high in essential fatty acids, which include cold water fish such as salmon, nuts, cashews, almonds, nut butters and flax seed. If possible, try to consume foods chat are natural, unprocessed and organic.

We should consume 8-10g glasses of water a day. Water is known as the elixir for life. It's essential for cushioning, lubricating and transporting nutrients co joints as well as removing toxins from our bodies.

Simple activity such as brisk walking 30 minutes per day is wonderful for our musculoskeletal system. Other exercises such as yoga, Pilates, water aerobics, and tai-chi can help strengthen the core of our bodies. For chose who have joint problems, we recommend talking to their health care providers and requesting prescriptions for physical therapy consults. Staying active is essential for joint health.

For more information call Suzanne Graziano, R.N., MSN, ONC, NE-BC, CNAT at (239) 624-3916.

To request an appointment or schedule service with an NCH Physician Group doctor, please call (239) 624-8106 or the Access Healthline (239) 624-1999. You may also visit our online Physician Directory, Find a Doctor.

If you have a problem that requires immediate attention please call the NCH Healthcare System switchboard (239) 624-5000. Please note: NCH cannot provide medical advice over the phone. If you are having a medical emergency, call 911 or seek emergency medical help.