(NC)—Every day people face hurdles in their lives. For the four million Canadians who suffer from the often debilitating pain and inflammation of arthritis, those hurdles can sometimes seem almost insurmountable.
Arthritis ranks among the top three chronic conditions in Canada, affecting one in seven Canadians. Daily activities like walking up stairs and typing on keyboards can present significant hurdles for people with this disease. Eighty-five per cent of us will have osteoarthritis by the age of 70.
Arthritis does not, however, mean you have to stop doing the things you love.
Sixty-seven year old Ken Edwards has suffered from arthritis for more than 40 years but has not let it keep him from a life of adventure. This year he trekked to base camp of Mt. Everest to see his son, Glenn, attempt to become the first Canadian to summit Everest without the use of supplemental oxygen.
"Glenn and I have enjoyed a number of fantastic experiences together from climbing mountains, to cycling and traveling around the world. Everest was the ultimate adventure for us to share," said Ken. "I've been fortunate in that I've been able to maintain an active life despite my arthritis through regular exercise, eating right and taking medication to manage my joint pain and stiffness."
Ken believes a positive attitude is also critical. He encourages people with arthritis to keep active and to "climb their own personal Everest," whether that means going for a short walk or playing with grandchildren.
The following tips can help you manage your arthritis:
• Choose activities that you like and that are in line with your own interests and abilities.
• Go slow. Doing too much too soon can be discouraging and may make your arthritis worse.
• Keep a healthy diet. You will get out of your body what you put into it.
• Talk to your doctor about treatment options. The right medication can help manage pain and inflammation so that you can keep active. Medications can range from non-prescription NSAIDs such as ASA (acetylsalicylic acid) and ibuprofen to prescription NSAIDs like naproxen and the newer coxibs, like Celebrex.
It's important to remember that arthritis doesn't need to be an insurmountable hurdle. Take the appropriate steps to manage your arthritis – and conquer your personal Everest.