Living with arthritis is not as an easy task and even carrying out some simple tasks and movements can not only be challenging, but can also be painful too which can be very frustrating to go through day in and day out.
In the UK, around 10 million people suffer from a form of Arthritis and it affects people of all ages. However, there are many things we can all do and a range of services out there that can help make day to day life with arthritis manageable.
Today’s blog post looks at different aspects of your life and how you’ll need to adapt to manage and cope with your symptoms. For a more in-depth look at arthritis, please take a look at our useful guide.
Work It Out
Having a long-term medical condition like arthritis can warrant worry and anxiety when it comes to financial security. Work is certainly feasible for people suffering from arthritis, even though the condition can make working life harder.
However, thanks to improved treatment, people who have been diagnosed with a form of arthritis have the opportunity to either return to work or find work. This is important as it can provide a sense of purpose, identity and help gain support from a social network from within your work place.
You’ll need to explore the options and support available to you so that you can do your job to the best of your ability and manage your condition at the same time. There are Government Work Schemes such as Work Choice and Access to Work specifically designed to help those suffering from a life-altering health condition.
Arthritis Research UK rightly point out that:
The 2010 Equality Act (Disability Discrimination Act in Northern Ireland) makes it unlawful for employers to treat anyone with arthritis or a related condition less favourably than anyone who doesn’t have that condition.
Whilst at work you’ll need to ensure that you try to remain as stress-free as possible, whilst also making sure that you have a good posture. Having poor posture can have a negative effect on your joints, so you’ll need to stand and/or sit in the correct positions.
Comfort is everything at work, especially if you work in an office. Make sure that your have essentials such as your phone, keyboard and mouse within your arm span so that you don’t have to stretch to reach them. You should also ensure that your computer screen should be roughly an arm’s length away from you, with the top of the screen at eye level.
If you do decide that full-time work is too much and that your condition is too challenging to manage at work all day, then there are alternatives that can still give you peace of mind for financial security:
- Flexible Work – There are some employers that will allow individual staff to be flexible with their time of starting and finishing work and may even accept working from home.
- Part-Time Work – This would allow you to cut down to only working a few days a week, giving you a longer break to rest and manage your arthritis without having to work every day.
- Job-Sharing – This is where two employees share the responsibilities which will take some of the work-load off while still working.
- Self-Employment – Working for yourself allows for much greater flexibility in how long you work, when you work and where you work.
Working with arthritis can be difficult and can be so severe that you are no longer able to do so but don’t be put down by this as there is help available with personal independence payment.
Eating well and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important no matter what your situation may be. However, it is very important for you to eat healthy if you have arthritis as it will give your body nutrients and help manage your condition, whilst stopping it from deteriorating.
A healthy diet will help you get to and maintain a healthy weight which will reduce symptoms, as reducing even a small amount of weight can reduce the strain on your joints. If you are underweight, a healthy diet will help your body get stronger and add the strength needed to get through a flare-up.
There are great foods that you can eat that will benefit you, and we have picked our top 10:
- Fish – Certain types of fish are jam-packed with Omega-3 which helps fight inflammation. Research shows that eating just 150 grams of fish a week can give you a great source of the vital fatty acids. Examples include salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring.
- Keep it Extra Virgin – Extra virgin olive oil is full to the brim with healthy fats, such as oleocanthal, containing properties similar to those of anti-inflammatory medication. Great to put on salads and to cook with, adding fantastic flavour and healthy benefits.
- Dairy – Milk, yogurt, cheese and other low-fat dairy products are rich in calcium and vitamin D that are important to increase bone strength. The two minerals come hand in hand, Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption and it can also boost your immune system.
- The Green of Broccoli – Broccoli is rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin K which can prevent or slow the progression of osteoarthritis. Broccoli is also rich in calcium to add to strengthening your bones.
- Put the Kettle on – Tea, not your traditional cup of English brew, but green tea. Full of polyphenols, antioxidants believed to reduce inflammation and slow cartilage destruction, green tea is also shown to have an antioxidant called epigallocatechin-3-gallate which blocks the production of molecules that cause joint damage in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
- Grains – Whole grains lower the level of C-reactive proteins that are a marker of inflammation that is associated with not only arthritis but also Diabetes and heart disease. Excellent sources of whole grains are oatmeal, brown pasta, brown rice and whole grain bread.
- Don’t through away the Beans – Beans are an excellent source of protein which is important for cellular growth and repair. Some beans, like kidney beans and pinto beans, are also rich in folic acid, magnesium, zinc, magnesium and potassium which are fantastic for the health of your immune system.
- Garlic – Studies show that the compound Diallyl Disulphine, which is found in garlic, may limit cartilage-damaging enzymes in human cells.
- Get your Nuts – Nuts are healthy for the heart and beneficial for weight loss. They have immune boosting ALA (alpha linolenic acid), protein, calcium, magnesium, zinc and vitamin E. Walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios and almonds are among some types of nuts that can give you all these nutrients and they are great snacks to fill the gap between meals.
- Turmeric – Research has proven that one of the best natural inflammation fighters is in fact a spice. Turmeric contains a compound called Curcumin which is beneficial in the management of arthritis.
Exercise boosts energy, strengthens and maintains muscles, supports joint movement and keeps us flexible. With arthritis, exercise helps to limit pain and maintain mobility. The NHS recommends that adults should undertake a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise at least five days a week.
You can do this in blocks of five to 10 minutes if it is too much for you to do in one go. It is important to structure a routine in your daily life to include exercise as lack of time is a common excuse for excluding exercise from day to day life.
Arthritis is one of the most common reasons people stop participating in exercise which leads to a variety of health risks including Diabetes and cardiovascular disease. However, as long as you do the right type and level of exercise for your condition, your arthritis won’t get any worse.
There are plenty of exercises that you can do to target specific areas in order to manage your pain, and you don’t always require equipment to take part. If you’re unsure, you can visit your doctor or a physiotherapist, who will be able to demonstrate and advise exercise routines.
Carrying out tasks at home can become difficult if you have arthritis and you may need to make some practical changes to your house. Here are some ways, in each room, that you can make life as easy as possible at home:
- Use electronic equipment such as tin openers.
- Use electronic jug kettles for improved grip.
- Install door handles which are easy to grip and turn.
- Store items you use often within easy reach on the work surface or at the front of cupboards at a convenient height.
- Have shelves that slide or rotate out when you open the door.
- Use shaped or memory foam pillows an don’t prop them up too high.
- A lightweight mattress will make it easier to make the bed.
- Replace your mattress if it over 10 years old, is saggy or lumpy, and if you can feel the springs.
- Use a non-slip bath mat.
- Use grab rails.
- Install a raised toilet seat.
If you have arthritis then you qualify for VAT Exemption when you order a personal alarm system from Lifeline24. HMRC state that a product which has been “designed or adapted for a disability” qualifies for VAT exemption.
For a person to qualify they must meet certain criteria set by HMRC. This criteria says that the customer must have a long-term illness, a terminal illness or a disability in order to qualify.
Personal Alarm Information
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