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5 tips to reduce your rish of arthritis

The Doctors | 1/5/2012, 7 p.m.

USA WEEKEND Health

It hurts when you walk or climb the stairs, slice meat or brush your teeth -- that's the reality of arthritis. Family history plays a role in your risk, and so does age: The chance of developing many types of arthritis, including the most common, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, increases the older you get.

Those factors you can't control. But you can take steps to protect your joints and reduce your risk of arthritis:

Exercise.
Regular exercise strengthens the muscles around joints, which helps keep them from rubbing against one another and wearing down cartilage; it also helps increase bone density, improve flexibility and ease pain.

Don't push your body past its limits.
Putting too much stress on your joints can accelerate the wear and tear that causes osteoarthritis, and injured joints, perhaps while playing a sport, are more likely to eventually develop arthritis.

Watch your weight.
Extra pounds put extra stress on your joints, especially your knees, hips and back. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control, people who are obese are 1.9 times more likely to report that they have arthritis symptoms.

Stand up straight.
Mom said it would make you look taller and slimmer; experts say It also helps protect the joints in your neck, back, hips and knees.

Ask your doc about D.
We know the vitamin is essential for bone health because it helps your body absorb calcium. Studies also suggest vitamin D may play a role in joint health, and that too-low levels may increase the risk of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

The Doctors is an Emmy-winning daytime TV show with pediatrician Jim Sears, OB-GYN Lisa Masterson, ER physician Travis Stork, and plastic surgeon Andrew Ordon. Check www.thedoctorstv.com for local listings.

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