How to better prevent osteoarthritis


According to figures from the Robert Koch Institute in Germany, more than 65% of men and more than 50% of women between the ages of 18 and 79 are overweight. Overweight refers to a BMI over 25 – that is, body weight over 25 kg/m2 – and obesity is defined as having a BMI over 30. A quarter of adults are obese. The proportion of overweight and obese patients who receive an artificial knee joint is also increasing accordingly. A healthy, balanced diet is also important for healthy cartilage. On the one hand, it prevents obesity. The fewer kilos there are on the joints, the less they are stressed. On the other hand, the body is supplied with nutrients. You need to eat as diverse as possible and as fresh as possible. In this way, the body receives enough vitamins, minerals and trace elements – which ultimately also benefit the cartilage.

Cartilage and joints need movement

Plenty of exercise is also important for strong cartilage and healthy joints. Anyone who is active regularly strengthens the surrounding muscles, which act as support and relieve joints and cartilage. The stronger the muscles, the better the support they provide. Regular exercise also ensures that the cartilage is supplied with blood and nourished. The formation of the so-called synovial fluid is also stimulated. It “oils” the joint to a certain extent and ensures a good glide. It also protects the cartilage from wear and tear.

Cycling better than playing football

Experts particularly recommend swimming, water aerobics, Nordic walking and cycling. On the other hand, accident-prone and high-impact sports, such as football and jogging, are a great challenge for the joints. Carrying heavy loads, constantly straining to one side, and wearing high-heeled shoes also pose long-term joint risk.

Vitamins can prevent inflammation

A healthy diet can even prevent inflammation to a certain extent: according to the German Arthrosis Foundation, vitamins A, C, E and beta-carotene as well as the trace element selenium can reduce the formation of inflammatory substances harmful to the joint. Carrots, tomatoes and peppers, for example, are rich in beta-carotene. Vitamin C is found in fruits. Nuts and vegetable oils are rich in vitamin E. Legumes, herring and trout are good sources of selenium, but do not expect miracles. Although a healthy diet has a positive effect on cartilage and joints, it cannot repair cartilage that has already been destroyed. But: As the Osteoarthritis Foundation reports, a change in diet can at least have a beneficial effect on the course of many forms of osteoarthritis, especially with regard to inflammation.

Give up cigarettes

Even those who do without cigarettes support cartilage function. Tobacco toxins have a negative effect on blood circulation and promote inflammation of the joint. Alcohol is also not good for the joints and should only be drunk in small amounts.

Treating Underlying Diseases Early

As osteoarthritis is often preceded by other underlying diseases, it is important to treat them at an early stage. For example, the German Osteoarthritis Foundation advises to always consult a doctor after accidents in which the joints have been affected and to have any damage adequately treated. Hip misalignments, knock knees and bow legs as well as diseases that can affect the development of osteoarthritis, such as iron storage disease, gout or diabetes, should also be treated. A visit to the orthopedist can provide valuable information about personal risk of osteoarthritis.

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