While researchers are exploring newer solutions, the right dosage of aspirin, prescribed drugs, some weight-based and strength-training exercise, particular fruits and oils can assist seniors in managing the joint pain and stiffness of arthritis, say federal agencies and medical professional organizations.
The Food and Drug Administration, the Arthritis Foundation and university researchers say patients can best cope with arthritis by taking low-to-moderate dose aspirin, which typically amounts to 325 mg for one to two tablets, whenever needed for pain and stiffness.
They add that seniors should engage in at least 15 minutes to half-hour of light-to moderate, weight or strength-bearing exercise, consume fruits that address arthritis such as plums or pineapples or their juices and, as a form of physical therapy, rub their ankles, back, knees and legs with coconut oil and olive oil as well as cook with either one.
If patients endure the rheumatoid arthritis form, doctors may prescribe them hydroxychloroquine to treat the pain, swelling and stiffness, the controversial drug that has not only been used to treat malaria but has also been falsely linked to remedying COVID.
They can also take dietary supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate as part of their daily regimen along with vitamins B12, C, D, calcium, iron and protein if they don’t regularly get these nutrients in the foods they eat.
Additionally, seniors may also take Humira, also known as adalimumab, as recommended by their doctors to address the pain, stiffness, swelling and drowsiness of moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis while reining it in.
Doctors may especially prescribe Humira if patients respond poorly to disease-modifying, anti-rheumatic drugs, also known as DMARDs. Humira can be used by itself or with methotrexate or other DMARDs. Side effects may vary individually.
Medications aside, they may also try to use hand massagers if they find them effective in relieving arthritis and can determine who can best use them, how often they can be used and which brands or products are the most successful.
While seniors may combine these aforementioned solutions for optimal results and consult their primary care physicians, orthopedists, rheumatologists and physical therapists for medical advice, the FDA is approving of newer approaches to addressing arthritis initiated by university researchers and healthcare professionals.
One approach involves the use of of senolytics, a class of medications that “clear senescent cells, such as Dasatinib, Quercetin, Fisetin and Navitoclax, to possibly reverse arthritis.
This also involves the consumption of certain fruits such as apples, grapes, onions, persimmons and strawberries, which contain Fisetin, a flavonoid. For the flavonoid Quercetin, seniors would do best to eat apples, broccoli, citrus fruits, grapes and onions and drink coffee, red wine and green tea.
Scientists are studying senolytics to gauge their effects on ankle, back, knee or leg inflammation and pain, the eyes, the lungs, stem cells as connected to heart failure or the brain and a depleted memory. If successful, the FDA may approve of the method by 2026.
Another approach recognized by the FDA, known as bioinformatics, associates dental care with arthritis. Biology and computer scientists at Rice University are finding a link between high levels of bacteria in the teeth and flare-ups of rheumatoid arthritis. The results are shared in the journal of Science Translational Medicine.
Researchers are determining whether the periodontal bacteria triggers an immune response in the human body to attack its own joints. They are also seeking to support the same hypothesis about cancer.
Yet another approach revolves around scientists investigating genetic variants that, for example, guards against respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19 and pneumonia but also connects to autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. Such studies may lead to streamlining therapies for some of these conditions.
Finally, one approach amounts to physical therapy. The FDA has approved Mobilise, an at-home virtual reality game-oriented rehabilitation device to be used by patients with degenerative knee arthritis, and created by Cotras, a South-Korean company.
Mobilise provides senior patients with customized training to restore lower-limb muscle function to their physiques. The device contains a user interface to provide internal knee biofeedback and lower limb posture biofeedback.
Cotras states that it means to offer the device to empower patients to age in place at home while reviving physical mobility and function to their knees and joints.
Facts and Figures
At least 70 million patients in the United States–at least one in four adults and some 300,000 children–suffer from arthritis, which may grow to 78 million in 2040, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.
Arthritis, also known as osteoarthritis, the most common variety, leads to the disintegration of bone and cartilage, which cushions the ends of the bones and absorbs the shock and prevents them from rubbing together.
At least 100 categories of arthritis abound and many can start in the human body after age 45. The resulting condition causes pain and stiffness to fingers and the joints of the ankles, back, feet, hips and knees by changing their shape and alignment.
About three percent of the world is stricken with psoriatic arthritis, the National Psoriasis Foundation says.
Another form of arthritis, fibromyalgia affects four million U.S. adults, the CDC states. Over one million adults nationwide have lupus, another form of the illness, the Lupus Foundation of America reports.
Aside from aspirin, dietary supplements, drugs, fruits, oils and vitamins as part of their doctor-approved treatment plans, seniors may also work with their medical team to devise an exercise regimen.
The regimen, created by patients, primary care physicians, orthopedists, physical therapists and rheumatologists, must meet the patient’s needs, fitness levels, personal restrictions and relieve them of arthritis.
The most effective forms of exercise include ones that address a senior patient’s range of motion, endurance and physical strength, all of which maintains and adds muscle and steadies and covers joints.
About 15 minutes to a half-hour of lifting objects, aside from weights in the gym, or strength training can take the form of yoga, swimming in warm and buoyant water, floor-mat and aerobic activity on such machines as recumbent bikes, walking around the block, gardening or golfing.
Additionally, a senior’s regimen can improve health, provide more energy, enable quality sleep, lead to weight loss, reduce depression and lift up his or her self-esteem. It also wards off other health problems like the risk of blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and stroke and empower patients to perform daily tasks.