Men’s Health Week is an important time to focus on the wellbeing of men and promote awareness about various health issues they may face. One such condition that affects both men and women is arthritis.
In this article, we will discuss what Men’s Health Week is all about and shed light on arthritis, its impact on men’s health, and ways to manage the condition effectively.
Understanding Men’s Health Week
Men’s Health Week is an annual event celebrated worldwide to raise awareness about men’s health issues, encourage early detection and treatment of health problems, and promote healthy lifestyles.
It serves as a reminder for men to prioritise their wellbeing and engage in open conversations about their health concerns.
Arthritis and Men’s Health
Arthritis is a condition characterised by joint inflammation, pain, and stiffness. Arthritis can impact anyone at any age.
Men may tend to downplay their symptoms or delay seeking medical help, which can lead to complications and reduced quality of life.
Factors Affecting Men with Arthritis
Certain occupations that involve repetitive motions, heavy lifting, or joint strain can increase the risk of developing arthritis. Men in physically demanding jobs, such as construction workers or athletes, may be more susceptible to joint damage.
Reluctance to Seek Help:
Men may often hesitate to discuss their health concerns or seek medical advice. This tendency may delay diagnosis and appropriate treatment, potentially worsening arthritis symptoms and leading to irreversible joint damage.
Managing Arthritis for Men’s Health
#1. Early Diagnosis.
Recognising the signs of arthritis and seeking prompt medical attention is crucial. If you experience persistent joint pain, stiffness, swelling, or reduced mobility, consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.
#2. Stay active.
Engaging in regular physical activity can help manage arthritis symptoms. Low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, or cycling are gentle on the joints while providing essential movement and strengthening the surrounding muscles. Consult with a healthcare professional or physical therapist to determine suitable exercises for your condition. For more information, read our free infosheet on Physical Activity
#3. Keep to a healthy weight.
Maintaining a healthy weight is vital for managing arthritis. Excess weight puts added stress on the joints, worsening pain, and discomfort. Adapting a balanced diet and incorporating portion control can help achieve and maintain a healthy weight and reduce strain on the joints. For more information, read our free infosheet on Healthy Eating and Arthritis.
#4. Balance activity and rest.
Learn to listen to your body and be guided by it. Try to space out your week’s activities to give yourself time to rest. If you are having a bad day, be ready to change your plans and not force yourself to work through pain. See an occupational therapist to learn ways to cope with fatigue and make daily tasks easier. Avoid repetitive motions or activities that strain your joints. Use assistive devices or ergonomic tools to reduce joint stress during daily tasks. For more information, read our free infosheet on Working with your Healthcare Team about seeing an occupational therapist and read our free infosheet on Fatigue and Arthritis.
#5. Talk to your doctor about medicines.
Various medications, such as pain relievers, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), may be prescribed by your healthcare provider to manage arthritis symptoms. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, or alternative therapies like acupuncture or heat/cold therapy may also be beneficial. Always talk to your doctor or pharmacist before you start taking any medicines as even natural and over-the-counter medicines can have side effects.
#6. Acknowledge your feelings and seek support.
Arthritis can impact mental and emotional well-being. Seeking emotional support from friends, family, or support groups can provide encouragement and coping strategies to navigate the challenges of living with arthritis. Be aware of these feelings and get help if they start affecting your daily life. For more information, read our free infosheet on Arthritis and Emotional Wellbeing.
#7. Find ways to manage pain.
It can be useful to change the way you think about, and react to, pain. A psychologist can teach you skills to help you manage your pain and improve overall wellbeing. Keeping active, balancing activity and rest, and speaking with your doctor about medicines can all help you to manage pain. For more information, read our free infosheet on Dealing with Pain
Men’s Health Week serves as a reminder for men to prioritise their wellbeing and address potential health concerns. Arthritis is a prevalent condition that affects both men and women, and early diagnosis and management are crucial for maintaining a good quality of life.
By seeking medical help, adopting healthy lifestyle habits, protecting joints, and seeking emotional support, men can effectively manage arthritis and enjoy optimal health and wellbeing.
Remember, your health matters, and taking care of yourself is essential for a fulfilling and active life.
How Arthritis NSW can help
- Speak with a peer-mentor in our free telephone service, Arthritis Assist.
- Join our Men’s Support Group
- Access more information on arthritis, health, and emotional wellbeing. Download free information sheets and booklets, or read a range of arthritis articles.
- Join our fortnightly eNews and stay up-to-date with arthritis information
- Register for our online exercise program
- Have questions about living with arthritis? Call our free Infoline 1800 011 041 to speak with a member of our health team.
Health Promotions Coordinator