What is Comorbidity?

pain management

Health Challenges Interdependence Nuances

If you have Osteoarthritis, you may also have…“Comorbidity,” which refers to the existence of more than one disease or chronic condition in a single patient at a moment. Also known as “multi-morbidities,” as many as 25% of Americans live with two or more chronic conditions.

Osteoarthritis (OA) doubles a person’s risk for multiple comorbidities by 2.5x. In fact, research reveals that obesity, diabetes, depression, and heart disease are the most common chronic conditions associated with OA.

Video: 5 foods to eat if you suffer from OA

While the severity of symptoms varies from patient to patient, it has been shown that the increased pain and overall decline in physical activity brought on by OA can lead to and/or exacerbate other ailments.

Rest assured that there are viable solutions to combat the onset of comorbidities as well as the increased immobility brought on OA of the knee. Arthritis Knee Pain Centers® offers a non-surgical outpatient therapy that in many cases decreases the pain of chronic OA of the knee and increases mobility.

Below are some of the most common multi-morbidities OA sufferers experience and how increased activity can significantly reduce symptoms.

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Obesity and Osteoarthritis

partially overweight black man gets checkup by nurse

The cycle between OA, debilitating pain, and obesity is vicious. Due to the severe joint pain experienced by OA sufferers, many people reduce their physical activity to minimize pain. This causes a dangerous chain reaction, leading to higher rates of disability, management, and obesity. Obesity worsens OA due to the added stress it puts on weight-bearing joints like the hips and knees. This stress causes more pain, resulting in even more limited physical activity. As such, the cruel cycle of pain continues, gradually worsening over time.

Video: Try these low-impact exercises if you have chronic pain

Depression and Osteoarthritis

One-third of arthritis sufferers over the age of 45 are diagnosed with depression or anxiety. This is largely due to increased disability and pain fatigue linked to their arthritic pain. As hefty medical costs and physical limitations increase, it is common for mental health to deteriorate. As a result, symptoms of both conditions simultaneously decline.

If you or a loved one are experiencing severe feelings of hopelessness, isolation, or cynicism, we encourage you to contact a healthcare provider for guidance. If you are in immediate danger, do not hesitate to call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

Video: Meditation can help manage your pain

Diabetes and Osteoarthritis

Individuals with OA have a 32% increased risk of developing diabetes. This is largely due to the increased risk factors of older age and obesity frequently found in patients with both diseases.

The conjunction of these two comorbidities typically leads to increased walking difficulty, ability to exercise, ability to lose weight, and other physical function issues. OA is especially dangerous since it is linked to insulin resistance, collagen production complications, and low bone density.

elderly couple eating lunch together

In addition to the crucial link between obesity and OA, exploring the connection between diet and OA is vital. A balanced diet rich in nutrients can play a significant role in managing OA symptoms. Foods with anti-inflammatory properties, such as fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids, can contribute to reducing pain and improving joint function.

Understanding the impact of dietary choices on overall health becomes imperative in the context of managing chronic conditions like OA. Incorporating a variety of nutrient-rich foods not only supports joint health but also contributes to the overall well-being of individuals dealing with multiple health challenges. It’s a holistic approach that addresses the interplay between dietary habits, osteoarthritis, and the risk of developing other health conditions.

Emphasizing the role of nutrition in the management of OA opens the door to a broader discussion about lifestyle choices. Encouraging individuals to make informed decisions about their dietary habits empowers them to take an active role in their overall health. Education about the benefits of specific nutrients and their impact on joint health fosters a proactive approach to well-being.

The Importance of Mobility and Physical Activity

woman sitting cross legged doing yoga

Physical activity is known to benefit those with osteoarthritis and its associated comorbidities. In fact, working moderate aerobic exercise and low-impact movements into your daily routine is excellent for managing existing conditions!

Among its many benefits, you will find that it significantly lowers blood pressure, improves physical function, and reduces cholesterol levels.

If you’re still skeptical, take a look at the list of benefits of physical fitness:

  • Elevates mood
  • Improves weight control
  • Strengthens muscles and bones
  • Reduces risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other multi-morbidities
  • Keeps you energized
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Promotes neural growth
  • Releases feel-good endorphins
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Improves weight control
  • Lowers blood glucose levels
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves physical function
  • Reduces low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels

Video: How much exercise do you need each day?

Engaging in regular physical activity not only helps manage existing conditions but also acts as a preventive measure against the onset of additional health challenges. The positive effects of exercise extend beyond joint health, contributing to overall cardiovascular well-being, mental health, and a strengthened immune system. Therefore, incorporating simple yet effective exercises into one’s routine can yield far-reaching benefits.

Be wary of long periods of physical inactivity as well. Not only does it put you at greater risk of complications related to motor function, but the management of existing comorbidities can be increasingly difficult to maintain.

Encouraging a shift toward an active lifestyle involves providing practical tips and guidance. Suggesting enjoyable and accessible physical activities tailored to individual abilities and preferences fosters a sustainable commitment to regular exercise. Breaking down the perceived barriers to physical activity, such as time constraints or lack of resources, is essential in promoting a holistic approach to health.

The Bottom Line

Osteoarthritis is chronic and progressive. There is no cure. Managing the disease and finding ways to maintain your mobility and physical activity is a must to combat and prevent other conditions.

Arthritis Knee Pain Centers® provides a non-surgical, non-opioid solution to decreasing the pain of knee OA. It may be the way to less pain and more movement for you. We’ve helped more than 20,000 patients since 2016. Schedule your no-charge, no-obligation knee pain screening today.

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Lee Trevino: Don’t Let Knee Pain Cripple You!

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