Doctor Reviewing X-Ray

May is Arthritis Awareness Month. If you are one of the nearly 50 million U.S. adults suffering from arthritis (1 in 5 report a diagnosis of either osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia), you know firsthand the associated daily struggles with joint pain and restricted mobility. You long for relief, but what will work?

Joint replacement is often mentioned as an option, but it’s not without risks. Pros and cons of this invasive surgery need to be weighed carefully. According to Vijay Rasquinha, MD, a North Shore-LIJ Orthopaedic Institute orthopedic surgeon, “You should try everything else first, including medication, physical therapy, swimming, ice, heat – the whole gamut. But if nothing is working, you have to ask yourself if pain and disability are ruining your qualify of life. If the answer is yes, it’s time to talk about surgery.”

Review the risks and benefits and discuss with your doctor whether joint replacement is the best option for you:

Risks:

  • Heart attack (the risk is 31 times higher after joint replacement)
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Nerve or blood vessel injury
  • Loosening of the new joint over time

Benefits:

Reduced long-term risk in those with osteoarthritis who received a full hip replacement for:

  • Death
  • Heart failure
  • Depression
  • Diabetes

The Arthritis Foundation has a list of 10 questions you should ask yourself if you are considering joint surgery. If you and your doctor determine that joint replacement is an appropriate option, risks can be reduced by losing weight (if overweight), stopping smoking, curbing alcohol use and adding in muscle-strengthening exercises.

Learn more about joint replacement risks and benefits from Everyday Health.

Whether you need assistance managing your arthritis (or daily tasks that have become more difficult because of your arthritis) or recovering from joint replacement surgery, the caregiving experts at Live Free Home Health Care can provide quality care supervised and coordinated by one of our registered nurses. We can help you make the most of life with arthritis. Live Free Home Health Care serves Central New Hampshire and the Lakes Region and is the preferred home care provider for Taylor Communities.

Mobility issues related to arthritis can sometimes cause falls. Live Free Home Health Care can provide products, such as a medical alert system, to provide an added safety net for your loved one and to give you, the caregiver, peace of mind. Contact us today by phone at 603-217-0149 or through our online contact form to schedule a free in-home assessment of your needs.

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