Caregiver Resources - Arthritis

Arthritis and related conditions are a large group of disorders affecting the joints, ligaments, tendons, bones and other components of the musculoskeletal system. Arthritis is one of the most prevalent chronic health conditions in Canada and is a leading cause of disability. The associated pain, disability and disruption of lives can lead to a poor quality of life and places demands on the healthcare system. As the population ages, the burden of these diseases can only be expected to increase.(1)

There are several types of arthritis. The two most common ones are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. Participation in physical activity is a key factor to support a healthy musculoskeletal (muscle and bone) system both to prevent these conditions and to reduce pain and disability from the disease. Adopting a healthy lifestyle includes exercise such as walking, cycling and swimming. This will help strengthen muscles that support the joints and keep the joints flexible. Keeping within a healthy weight range will help protect joints by avoiding excess stress on them in daily life. The use of assistive devices such as canes, grab bars and larger handles can help people manage activities better and provide extra support. Medication can sometimes help to reduce the pain of osteoarthritis.(1)

Discuss your needs with your health care team.

References

1.  Health Canada. (2008).  Seniors and Aging – Osteoarthritis.  Retrieved March 2014 from:
     http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/alt_formats/pacrb-dgapcr/pdf/iyh-vsv/diseases-maladies/seniors-aines-ost-art-eng.pdf