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Young at Heart October 2022 final

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Peggy Pollard, Teacher www.PeggyDance.weebly.com Join the funnest social dancing in Santa Cruz! Santa Cruz Waltz & Swing In-Person & Online Dances & Lessons Meet cool & sophisticated new friends! 1777-A Capitola Road, Santa Cruz 95062 www.seniornetworkservices.org A Nonprofit Community Agency Santa Cruz County's Official Information & Assistance Provider call: 831-462-1433 email: info@seniornetworkservices.org Unbiased, No Cost Medicare Counseling Santa Cruz call: 831-462-5510 San Benito call: 831-637-0630 email: hicap@seniornetworkservices.org Shared Housing I Housing Navigation I Home Help call: 831-462-6788 email: housing@seniornetworkservices.org Respite Registry I Respite Grants call: 831-462-0880 email: respite@seniornetworkservices.org SENIOR NETWORK SERVICES October 2022 edition Special Advertising Supplement to the Santa Cruz Sentinel Arthritis 101: An Overview By Tara Fatemi Walker If you are a senior or someone approaching "senior age" (which varies depending on who you talk to!), arthritis is proba- bly something that's been on your mind. But arthritis is complex, and this month, we're here to help deepen your understand- ing of the topic—includ- ing sharing the fact that arthritis actually affects people of all ages. "Arthritis isn't a single disease; the term refers to joint pain or joint disease, and there are more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions," writes Linda Rath on the website arthritis.org, run by the Arthritis Founda- tion. "People of all ages, races and sexes live with arthritis, and it is the lead- ing cause of disability in the U.S. It's most com- mon among women, and although it's not a disease of aging, some types of arthritis occur in older people more than younger people." Nearly 60 million adults and 300,000 kids have arthritis, and it is the country's top cause of disability in adults. "There are many different types of arthritis that can develop and several different areas of the body that can be af- fected," says Michelle Di Fiore, MD, a local doctor in Dignity Health's Rheu- matology Group. The most common arthritis type is osteoarthritis. "This impacts about 32 million adults and about 80% of those adults are 45 years old or older. Osteoarthritis can affect the majority of our joints. However, the joints that keep us active like the knees, hips, and hands can be affected the most. It is also common to have arthritis in the spine which can cause pain and neurologic issues." Dr. Di Fiore says that usually, patients become aware of arthritis because of the pain associated with arthritis developing in a certain area. "The pain will get worse as the day goes on," she explains. "There can be some stiffness or 'gelling' when getting up from bed or a seated position for a long time." Are you afflicted with os- teoarthritis and wondering what you can do to stop it from getting worse? "Maintaining a healthy weight and low impact exercise can be helpful to prevent progression of osteoarthritis," says Dr. Di Fiore. These days, older individuals tend to be overly cautious even when COVID-19 isn't surging. It can be difficult to stay on top of an exercise rou- tine—whether a person's fitness goal is related to arthritis or to general health maintenance. "I have seen how the pandemic has limited many of our seniors from doing some their favorite activities which kept them active," says Dr. Di Fiore. The biggest ones she's noticed: the inability to go swimming at local swim centers or maintaining workout gym routines. "While people are still limiting their interactions, there are options to stay active at home by devel- oping home exercise rou- tines. I have some senior patients that do chair yoga to work on balance and strengthen the joints that cause them pain. There are many resources online and a quick search will return many instructional videos to help anyone get started." While we are at home more often, says Dr. Di Fiore, we tend to be less active which makes it easy to put on weight. "This puts more strain on our joints and in the long run, can cause arthritis," she says. "While keeping safe at home during the pandemic, you should focus on healthy foods and a balanced diet." Another resource is the Dignity Health Well- ness Center at 21340 E. Cliff Dr. "It offers many services, including classes about healthy eating and other exercise programs," says Dr. Di Fiore. "They publish a quarterly catalog that can be picked up at the office or found online (https://www.dignity- health.org/dominican/pep). I recommend checking it out. The catalog contains information on classes and seminars that could be helpful to learn more about arthritis and healthy living." Also, they just finished their outdoor patio which can host larger gatherings outside. This allows for social distanc- ing during the ongoing pandemic. I asked Dr. Di Fiore if she had any tips or news about treatment for arthritis. "Many times, patients can- not take over-the-counter oral medications such as ibuprofen because people have other comorbidities such as kidney impair- ment and gastric ulcers that limit their NSAID use," she says (note: NSAID refers to non-ste- roid anti-inflammatory drugs). "In the last few years, a topical NSAID gel called diclofenac gel has become over the counter and is a good al- ternative for those people who cannot take NSAIDs orally." Dr. Di Fiore and I also discussed food/nutri- tion tips for joint health. "There are a few arthritis conditions that are clearly related to diet. Celiac disease patients have intolerance to gluten (such as wheat, rye, and barley) and avoid this in their diet as it can cause a flare of joint pain," she explains. "Also, gout is commonly seen when patients eat foods rich in a substance called purines. Purine rich foods include things like red meat, shellfish, beer, and high fructose corn syrup. The first way to improve gout is to have a diet low in purine to pre- vent further attacks." She says there is a lot of emerging data on anti-in- flammatory diets. "I have had many patients tell me that avoiding certain foods such as alcohol, refined sugars, and gluten help reduce their joint pain. There are also foods that have been noted to be nat- urally anti-inflammatory such as turmeric. At this time, the science is still developing, but many pa- tients find a diet with low anti-inflammatory foods helps their pain levels." Some people wonder if there are any signs to watch out for, that might signal they need to visit a rheumatolo- gist. "Although osteoar- thritis is more common, especially as we age, there are many other types of arthritis that also occur," says Dr. Di Fiore. "Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and gout (among others) come on with red, hot, swollen joints." There is stiffness and swelling associated that do not get better with over-the- counter medications and "require you to go see your doctor who can re- fer you to a rheumatolo- gist to evaluate further," she adds. Michelle Di Fiore has been working with Dignity Health for a little over a year after finishing her training at UC Irvine in Orange County. She is glad to be in this area. "I grew up in Gilroy and wanted to come back home to be closer to my family. I was pleasantly surprised to feel such a sense of commu- nity here in Santa Cruz. I love seeing my patients out and about, walking on the beach or even at the grocery store." She finds her work very rewarding. "My patients take pride in their community and their health. It has been a pleasure working with them for the past year and I hope to continue to be a part of the community for years to come." Contact info: Dr. Michelle Di Fiore Dignity Health Medical Group 1595 Soquel Dr. Suite 411 Santa Cruz, CA 95065 (831) 475-8834 Young at Heart Young at Heart In Santa Cruz County Contributed photo of Michelle Di Fiore Bigstock photo

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