Help for arthri­tis suf­fer­ers

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

Arthri­tis is New Zealand’s lead­ing cause of dis­abil­ity, and os­teoarthri­tis is the most com­mon form of the dis­ease.

It is es­ti­mated that there are more than 305,000 adults liv­ing with os­teoarthri­tis in New Zealand and that num­ber is only expected to grow.

Os­teoarthri­tis is the re­sult of a me­chan­i­cal break­down in the joints. In a healthy joint, car­ti­lage pro­vides a smooth sur­face be­tween the bones, al­low­ing easy move­ment.

When a joint de­vel­ops os­teoarthri­tis, the car­ti­lage gets thin and rough and in some cases com­pletely breaks down, leav­ing the bones un­pro­tected.

Liv­ing with os­teoarthri­tis has been de­scribed as hav­ing bro­ken glass in your joints.

As a re­sult of the dam­age, the joint loses its abil­ity to move smoothly and the bones lose shape and be­gin to pro­duce bony spurs. Pieces of car­ti­lage may break off and dis­turb other soft tis­sue in the joint, which causes pain and swelling.

Al­though there is no cure for os­teoarthri­tis, there are many ways to help re­lieve symp­toms and stop it get­ting worse. Arthri­tis New Zealand has a team of ed­u­ca­tors who pro­vide ex­pert ad­vice and guid­ance, help peo­ple learn how to self-man­age, and pro­vide up- to- date in­for­ma­tion about os­teoarthri­tis and avail­able treat­ments.

When you live with arthri­tis, ev­ery­day tasks can be chal­leng­ing and the idea of be­com­ing more phys­i­cally ac­tive could be daunt­ing.

But stud­ies show that reg­u­lar and ap­pro­pri­ate phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity helps im­prove pain tol­er­ance, mood and qual­ity of life.

Arthri­tis New Zealand helps peo­ple ac­cess land- and wa­ter­based ex­er­cise pro­grammes that en­hance move­ment and func­tion­ing.

Know­ing you are not alone is es­sen­tial to self- man­age­ment and Arthri­tis New Zealand pro­vides ad­vice and guid­ance, and can help you con­nect with other peo­ple and sup­port groups who un­der­stand.

To learn more about os­teoarthri­tis, visit arthri­tis.org.nz or ring 0800 663 463.

ARTHRI­TIS: Time to get help.

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