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Ask DrHelen Your Own Question
DrHelen
DrHelen, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 61
Experience:  UK Family doctor with special interest in Palliative Medicine
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As an active 79 year old( I walk some 20 miles a week golfing),

Customer Question

As an active 79 year old( I walk some 20 miles a week golfing), I have an ankle and 2 fingers which are said to be arthritic; any advice on how best to combat this via diet/exercise medication or anything else would be very helpful
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr Peter Bush replied 4 years ago.

Dr Peter Bush :

Hi, Thank you for your question

Dr Peter Bush :

When did you find out that you had arthritis

JACUSTOMER-8xgs5b9w- :

three months ago

Dr Peter Bush :

Did they tell you which type of arthritis you had?

JACUSTOMER-8xgs5b9w- :

no

Dr Peter Bush :

There are 2 main types of arthritis, osteo and rheumatoid. It sounds as if you are really fit given your age. Have you any other medical conditions, or do you take any medication for anything?

JACUSTOMER-8xgs5b9w- :

only a daily lansoprazole tab for reflux problem

Dr Peter Bush :

Do you have any symptoms from the ankle or fingers which cause you trouble?

JACUSTOMER-8xgs5b9w- :

ankle I stiff and a little painful when I wake up but better after I have walked for a few minutes; slight difficulty with fingers gripping things like a golf club/opening a jar etc

Dr Peter Bush :

Right, I see. It sounds like the arthritis is at an early stage, and this could be manageable. Engaging in moderate physical activity on a regular basis helps decrease fatigue, strengthen muscles and bones, increases flexibility and stamina, and improves your general sense of well-being.

Dr Peter Bush :

It would helpful for you to have a referral to the physiotherapist, who could help you with exercise routines which would further help strengthen your joints and make the arthritis less bothersome.

JACUSTOMER-8xgs5b9w- :

what about diet or medication?

Dr Peter Bush :

It does depend on which form of arthritis it is, as this will change which medication is given. Do you want me to go through the 2 main types and which medication will help with each type, and then you can ask your GP which you have.

JACUSTOMER-8xgs5b9w- :

that would be great thanks

Dr Peter Bush :

No problems, diet is not a huge factor. Just as long as you maintain a healthy lifestyle, which it sounds like you do.

Dr Peter Bush :

For osteoarthritis, analgesics (painkillers),non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs and corticosteroids are often prescribed. In severe cases, surgery may be recommended. Your case does not sound severe.

Dr Peter Bush :

The aim in treating rheumatoid arthritis is to slow down the progress of the condition and minimise joint damage. Recommended treatments may include:



  • analgesics (painkillers)

  • disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs)

  • physiotherapy and regular exercise

JACUSTOMER-8xgs5b9w- :

ok, if I had an idea which medication for which type of arthritis to discuss with my GP that would be very helpful

JACUSTOMER-8xgs5b9w- :

OK, many thanks

Dr Peter Bush :

I would believe that you have rheumatoid, giving your lifestyle and few symptoms. I would ask for a referral to see a physiotherapist from your GP, so you can maintain a good exercise regime which would slow down the progress of the condition.

Dr Peter Bush :

Medication would likely be ibruprofen, diclofenac or naproxen. Painkillers would be paracetamol, codeine (co-dydramol or co-codamol)

Dr Peter Bush :

Methotrexate and prednisolone may also be given.

Dr Peter Bush :

Did you require any further information. If you do not if you could leave a positive rate below so I can get credit for helping you this morning

Expert:  DrHelen replied 4 years ago.
Hi,

I am a GP and have a lot of experience of working with people with arthritis (23 years worth!) and I think it is much more likely that your arthritis is osteoarthritis, the wear-and-tear type.

Rheumatoid arthritis most commonly starts in the 20s to 40s and is 3 times more common in women.It would be unusual to be starting with it now.

I am concerned that in view of your gastric reflux, for which you are on treatment, many of the drugs mentioned above could make this condition worse, in particular ibuprofen and any related drugs (commonly called NSAIDs).Avoid buying neurofen over the counter, but paracetamol is safe.

There is evidence that a good diet rich particularly in Vitamin C, beta-carotene and vitamin D can help osteoarthritis.

This is a great article that goes into detail about which foods can help and also has information on wacky (usually expensive) diets that make no difference at all.

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=862

There is also a supplement called glucosamine which has been shown in some studies to help with the pain and stiffness of arthritis.It is a naturally ocurring substance that you can buy in Boots or health food shops and is well worth considering.(It is derived from shell fish so if you have a shellfish allergy you need to be careful.) You can read more about it here.

http://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/OsteoArthritis.pdf

As you can see there are quite a few self help measures you can do for this.

Keeping active is also known to help with arthritis.

I hope this information helps.

Best wishes.