Although the primary symptoms of arthritis are often associated with joint pain and stiffness, the impact of this condition extends far beyond the musculoskeletal system. In fact, arthritis can significantly affect your overall health and well-being in ways that may surprise you.
Let’s take a look at some of the lesser-known impacts of arthritis on various aspects of your health and provide insights into managing this condition effectively, courtesy of Dr. Dustin Hamoy and our team here at Precision Laser Joint and Spine Pain Center in Glen Burnie, Maryland.
The impact of arthritis on your mental health
Living with chronic pain can seriously and adversely affect your mental health. Chronic pain can contribute to anxiety and depression, but the reverse is also true. Anxiety and depression can intensify chronic pain, and that includes the chronic pain associated with arthritis.
Arthritis patients often experience depression, anxiety, and increased stress levels because of the constant discomfort and limitations imposed by the condition. The emotional burden of arthritis can lead to decreased quality of life, social isolation, and even cognitive decline (particularly with rheumatoid arthritis).
It’s essential for individuals with arthritis to address their mental well-being alongside physical symptoms and seek support, when needed, from mental healthcare professionals, support groups, and loved ones.
The impact of arthritis on your cardiovascular health
Arthritis doesn’t just impact your joints. It can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Chronic inflammation associated with arthritis can contribute to the development of conditions such as heart disease, hypertension, and stroke. If you have osteoarthritis, you have a 24% higher risk of heart disease, and if you have rheumatoid arthritis, you have as high as 70% increased chance of developing heart disease.
Additionally, some arthritis medications may have potential side effects on the cardiovascular system. If you have arthritis, be sure to monitor your cardiovascular health closely, adopt heart-healthy habits, and work closely with our team to manage both arthritis symptoms and potential cardiovascular risks.
The impact of arthritis on your sleep quality
Arthritis pain often interferes with sleep, leading to sleep disturbances and insomnia. The discomfort experienced during nighttime can disrupt your sleep-wake cycle, making it challenging to achieve restorative sleep.
Poor sleep quality not only exacerbates pain and fatigue but also impairs cognitive function and overall well-being. Establishing a bedtime routine, optimizing your sleep environment, and seeking medical advice for pain management can help alleviate sleep-related issues for individuals with arthritis.
The impact of arthritis on weight management
Just like chronic pain and sleep have a circular relationship, so do weight and arthritis.
Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for managing arthritis symptoms effectively, but the chronic pain associated with arthritis can limit your physical activity, leading to a more sedentary lifestyle. This reduced mobility, combined with potential medication side effects, can contribute to weight gain and obesity.
To compound matters, excess weight places additional stress on your joints, exacerbating pain and inflammation.
The solution? If you have arthritis, work with our team to develop a balanced exercise routine and adopt a nutritious diet to manage your weight and support joint health.
Increased risk of falls
Arthritis can impact balance, stability, and coordination, increasing the risk of falls and related injuries. Joint pain, stiffness, and muscle weakness associated with arthritis can affect mobility and make everyday activities more challenging.
Implementing measures such as regular exercise, physical therapy, using assistive devices, and modifying the home environment can help reduce the risk of falls and improve overall safety for those with arthritis.
Help for your arthritis pain
Arthritis is a complex condition that affects more than just the joints. The impact of arthritis on your overall health should not be underestimated. By understanding and addressing the lesser-known effects of arthritis, such as mental health struggles, cardiovascular risks, sleep disturbances, weight management, and fall prevention, you can take proactive steps to improve your quality of life.
In the meantime, if you need help managing the pain of arthritis, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Dr. Hamoy specializes in using MLS® laser therapy technology to treat arthritis here in Glen Burnie, Maryland. MLS laser therapy can help reduce your pain so that you can get back to your routines and experience an improved quality of life.
Call us at 659-204-5737, or book an appointment online to learn more about your options for managing the pain of arthritis.