Seniors and Arthritis
Arthritis is an umbrella term for over 200 types of joint affliction. It can affect one joint or multiple joints simultaneously.
More than 300,000 children from infants up to age 18 have arthritis. However, when people think of arthritis, they think of seniors.
The CDC tells us that over 54 million seniors have some kind of arthritis. The greater of these are over 65, but a vast amount of people 45 to 64 have it, too. As the Baby Boomer generation enters its golden years, seniors will have more need for a help button. What is arthritis, how does it affect seniors, and how will a medical alert button keep seniors safe?
What Is Arthritis?
When two bones meet, they form a joint such as knees and elbows. Between the bones are a sac filled with fluid to keep the bones from rubbing together. Over the bones runs a strong band called cartilage.
This tissue allows the joint to move fluidly as it bends and straightens. It’s also a shock absorber that prevents damage to both bones when bearing weight such as picking up something heavy or running.
Arthritis occurs when the cartilage decreases due to simple aging or trauma. When the cartilage decreases, the pressure on the joint increases. Bone rubs against bone, the joint swells, range of motion is seriously curtailed, and pain results.
What Types Of Arthritis Affect Seniors?
There aren’t as many types of arthritis as there are seniors, but seniors may suffer from more than one type of arthritis. There are three types that the majority of seniors contract: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout.
“Osteo” means bone, which makes sense. Arthritis begins and ends with bones. Seniors will likely have osteoarthritis in joints well worked out or traumatized during their lives. Lower back, shoulders, neck, hands, hips, and knees are the most usual joints affected by osteoarthritis.
Range of motion will be severely decreased. The pain of swollen joints will slow seniors down as well. Walking, bending, and other daily movements will be almost impossible. The body will compensate for this by bending over or twisting into a position in which the pain won’t affect it so badly. The body might fall, requiring an emergency button.
Rheumatoid arthris occurs when the immune system mistakenly thinks a joint is an intruder. The immune system then attacks the joint in an effort to fight off the bad guy. There is presently no way to convince the immune system there’s no intruder. RA can attack any joint or a number of them. Fingers, wrists, shoulders, elbows, knees, hips, feet, and ankles are most commonly affected by RA.
Seniors with RA on one side of their bodies frequently have it on the other side as well. The joint becomes inflamed, swollen, painful, and frequently the senior can’t move at all. The senior might have fever and a feeling of unwellness. A lot of people aren’t aware that RA attacks major organs as well as joints to include the heart, nervous system, eyes, and muscles.
Gout is the third type of arthritis commonly suffered by the elderly. Uric crystals from uric acid buildup in the joints get into the soft tissues of the joint. The irritation causes the joint to swell, become red or purple, hot to the touch, and stiff. Uric acid comes from eating shellfish, anchovies, gravy, dried beans, and peas. Gout is most often found in the big toes, although it can form in any joint tissues.
How Does Arthritis Present To Seniors?
Anyone suffering arthritis is quite aware of the symptoms. They don’t mirror other illnesses like shortness of breath or fever would. Joint pain, swelling, stiffness, curtailed range of motion, redness, and tenderness to the touch are all symptoms of arthritis. The body is unable to stand tall, stride, or perform simple tasks.
Importance Of A Medical Alert Button
There is no feeling more helpless to a senior than falling to the ground with no way of rising. It is among the many risks that come with age , but that’s also what arthritis does to us. Before or during arthritis treatment, a system to let someone know a problem has arisen is often a life-saving thing. That’s because canes and walkers only help support seniors as they stand, not when they fall.
Seniors mostly fall in their homes when there’s no one around, nor can they get to a phone. They can sometimes lie for hours or even days before someone visits. People have died in circumstances like this. An emergency button such as the Belle medical alert system was invented for just such circumstances.
The button is monitored 24/7/365, so seniors can alert someone at a touch they’re in trouble and need help. No more helplessness, no more fear of being alone with no one to help. It’s not expensive. The Belle medical alert system hangs around the neck, so help is only a touch away. And for a limited time, LifeRun is giving away free service every week!
Exercising with stiff and swollen joints might seem almost impossible, but it helps keep the joints fluid and not swollen. Seniors exercising to control their arthritis might fall at first, which is when a help button is most handy. As seniors keep working out, their bodies will loosen up, and their balance and flexibility will return to some degree.
Most doctors prescribe anti-inflammatories, pain pills, dietary adjustments, and exercise before moving on to pain relief injections. If these control the symptoms of arthritis, then the senior benefits greatly. Surgery is generally the last resort.
Arthritis affects people from babyhood to the golden years. Although it can’t be cured, it can be controlled. Seniors needn’t fear being alone with no one to help if they should fall. Liferun Medical Alert Systems is standing by to help with their Belle medical alert system.
Such systems give seniors more than just a sense of security. It’s about the confidence to do what should be done such as exercising to control the symptoms of arthritis knowing you’ve got backup. Call today for your help button.