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"Are there special nutritional needs for someone with early signs of osteoarthritis?"
I am a 63 year old woman. I am about 15 pounds overweight but otherwise in good health. I recently was diagnosed with the very early signs of osteoarthritis in my knees. I have no pain or stiffness in my joints at this time. I am slowly losing weight, but would like to know if there is a special dietary program I could follow that would help stave off the arthritis. I am walking 2 miles a day but otherwise don't do much exercising.
Congratulations on slowly losing weight! This is a very important health initiative and will serve you well in the long run. As you know osteoarthritis is simply 'wear and tear' arthritis, caused by cartilage deterioration over time. It does tend to worsen as you age, but there are a few things you can do to help. The first, and most important thing, is weight loss which you are already doing. This is because osteoarthritis tends to affect some of the big weight bearing joints, especially the hips and knees. Therefore, the 'wear and tear' on these joints is directly related to your weight, and you can relieve a lot of the pressure on them simply by doing this. The second is exercise. Regular exercise (in addition to its helpful effects on weight) also improves muscle strength and overall joint flexibility. These will serve you well in the long term and keep your level of fitness up for as long as possible. There are many dietary supplements and changes that are popular for osteoarthritis, including chondroitin or glucosamine supplements and diets high in antioxidants. None of these have been proven to make a difference, although they do help some people and are not harmful. Talk to your doctor if you have further questions.
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