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  The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Friday, March 29, 2013

Arthritis and African-Americans: 8 Ways to Control the Pain

African American With Arthritis

Arthritis affects more than 50 million people in the U.S. (young and old), according to the Centers for Disease Control.  American Indians and Alaska Natives have the highest rate at 25 percent, followed by whites at 24 percent, 19 percent for African-Americans, and 11 percent for Hispanics. However, research shows that African-Americans experience more pain from arthritis because they are more likely to get the most severe forms of arthritis like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Arthritis comes in these different forms:

Lupus - affects not just the joints but also the skin, kidneys and other parts of the body. About 90 percent of people who have lupus are women, and it is more prevalent among African American women than white women.

Rheumatoid arthritis- usually occurs among women age 25-50. Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation in the lining of the joints and other internal organs and leads to deterioration and limited movement.

Osteoarthritis - is what most people refer to as arthritis; it is the most common form. Of the 27 million Americans who have osteoarthritis, 16 million are women 40 or over. Osteoarthritis causes stiffness in the joints, swelling and damage to cartilage and bones.

Osteoporosis - causes bones to become brittle and porous. Eighty percent of osteoporosis patients are women, especially small women.

Here are some suggestions on how to control arthritis pain:

#1 - Control weight: more weight means more stress on the joints.

#2 - Keep moving: inactivity only adds to the pain. Exercise daily. Low-impact swimming and walking are easy and great exercises.

#3 - Stretch: take time during the work day to get up and stretch. Repetitive motion only aggravates arthritis.

#4 - Vitamin D: eat foods rich in vitamin D, like milk and dairy products, fish. Also take a supplemental vitamin D daily.

#5 - Get enough sleep: not enough sleep at night can make the pain worse the next morning.

#6 - Stress: try to avoid as much stress as possible. Some relaxation techniques could include meditation, massage, yoga and even acupuncture.

#7 - Eat healthy: eat foods that have plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, herring, sardines, walnuts and pumpkin seeds. Foods rich in vitamin C are also good, like citrus fruits. Foods like onions, leeks, cherry tomatoes and apples all contain anti-inflammatory properties.

#8 Avoid these foods: shellfish, red meat, all increase uric acid in the blood that forms crystals that settle in the joints, creating more pain. Also avoid sunflower and corn oils, or foods cooked in them, and sugar.

(All medications should be taken under the direction of a family physician.)
DISCLAIMER: The content or opinions expressed on this web site are not to be interpreted as medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or medical practitioner before utilizing any suggestions on this web site.