In today’s climate of uncertainty with regards to health insurance, it may be time to consider something related. With the courts hearing arguments over the legality of the health insurance reforms, and health insurance companies seemingly scrabbling to make what profits they can, while they can, it may be one of the last things you have control over regarding your own health: preventative maintenance. After all, if you are able to keep yourself healthier, health insurance will matter less to you, as you will need it less.
In this article we will look at a common health issue that afflicts a vast portion of the population, but with a little proactivity on the part people at risk for these problems, symptoms can be prevented, or lessened in severity if it is too late for prevention.
First, let’s look at knee problems. The knee is the largest joint in the human body, and probably the most susceptible to injury. Humans are large mammals, and our walking posture puts a lot of weight and pressure on a joint that did not evolve well to support the stress we put it under.
To help understand why the knees are prone to injury, it might help to look quickly at the structure of the knee. The knee is a hinge joint held together by a system of ligaments, and cushioned by cartiledge. There is cartliledge coating the ends of the bone which lessen friction that results from bones moving against each other, as well as pad of cartiledge int he middle of the joint which acts as a shock absorber. Most knee disorders result from stress or damage to the ligaments or degradation of cartiledge.
Athletes are of course at risk for knee injuries, and these injuries can often be career enders. Among the rest of us, women are particularly at risk for knee problems, due to differences in anatomy, and also monthly changes in hormones. A woman’s naturally wider hip structure puts more sideways stress on the knee joint, which can lead to trauma of the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL. Some medical professionals estimate that women at 2 to 8 times as likely as a man to experience ACL injuries.
A woman’s natural variations in hormone levels associated with menstrual cycles also play a part, as the hormones can cause tightening and loosening of ligaments, in the knee and throughout the body. Looser ligaments can raise risk of tears adn sprains.
Many medical professionals suggest that low impact leg exercises, such as cycling, elliptical machine training, and swimming can strengthen the knees and prevent many injuries. Also, core muscle strengthening exercises such as pilates can lead to better posture and balance, which can lessen knee stresses. Also, and important suggestion for prevention of knee problems is maintaining a healthy body weight. For obese or seriously overweight individuals, higher body weight leads to more pressure and vertical stress on the knees, and the loss of even 15 to 20 pounds can give a noticable improvement to those experiencing knee problems.
With medical costs rising constantly, and many health insurance providers raising client co-pays, a good money saving strategy is to not need their services. With a bit of care to avoid knee injuries coupled with some small lifestyle changes, many people can avoid the need for the costs, pain, and inconvenience of knee surgery and recovery.