In the UK, more than 10 million people have arthritis or other, similar conditions that affect the joints. The two most common types of arthritis in the UK are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Joint pain and stiffness are the hallmark symptoms of arthritis but there are a host of less obvious symptoms too.
According to the Arthritis Foundation (AF), certain types of arthritis can have symptoms not directly related to your joints.
As the AF explains, changes to finger and toenails are a less obvious warning sign.
Other possible symptoms include:
- Scaly, itchy skin
- Weight loss
- Hair loss in spots or around the hairline.
“Before visiting the doctor, keep track of your symptoms for a few weeks, noting what is swollen and stiff, when, for how long and what helps ease the symptoms,” advises the AF.
Regular exercise can also:
- Improve your range of movement and joint mobility
- Increase muscle strength
- Reduce stiffness
- Boost your energy.
What are the best types of exercise if you have arthritis?
Range-of-motion exercises are particularly beneficial if you have arthritis.
The Mayo Clinic explains: “These exercises relieve stiffness and increase your ability to move your joints through their full range of motion.”
According to the health body, these exercises might include movements such as raising your arms over your head or rolling your shoulders forward and backward.
Why is it important to maintain a healthy weight if you have arthritis?
According to the NHS, if you’re overweight, losing weight can really help you cope with arthritis
“Too much weight places excess pressure on the joints in your hips, knees, ankles and feet, leading to increased pain and mobility problems,” warns the health body.
According to UK health guidelines, a body mass index (BMI) of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered a healthy weight.
BMI is a measure of whether you’re a healthy weight for your height.