“I could see how a lot of these older adults are home- bound or they don’t have transportation or family or support, so it makes them less motivated to do something like that,” said Adriana Almaguer, supervisor at the Pico Rivera Senior Center. Almaguer’s site is one of several local community centers offering programs and exercise classes to help older adults stay active. The Whittier Senior Center has slated a weekly mobility and flexibility workshop for seniors, and at the Neighborhood Center in Santa Fe Springs, associates are organizing a special physical therapy program that addresses arthritis issues. Nevertheless, arthritis affects people of all age groups – including children. Experts said preventing and managing the disease is never premature, and it can be done through physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding joint injuries that could contribute to arthritis. “Every body is different, so there are no magic fix-alls that are going to make everyone’s arthritis go away,” said Sara Reeve, a spokesperson with the Arthritis Foundation, Southern California chapter. “But early intervention in arthritis can mean the difference between being moderately affected and being incredibly impacted by the course of the disease.” Even in her limitations, Ledesma, who also uses a cane to get around, said she recognizes the importance of staying active. Frequenting community center programs such as crocheting classes help, but the Whittier senior also follows her own regimen. “You’re going to be hurting no matter what,” Ledesma said. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3024160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Increasing numbers of Los Angeles County residents have been reporting limitations in their usual activities as a result of arthritis, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. And though they can’t point out specific causes for the increase, experts said obesity and a lack of exercise in arthritis sufferers’ daily routines may be to blame. “If you’re hurting, you’re not able to move too much, but you need to move,” said Henedina Ledesma of Whittier. Ledesma, 78, knows what it’s like to live with arthritis. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsShe regularly takes medication to deal with the pain she endures from her neck down to her feet, she said. And sometimes, Ledesma may get persistent muscle spasms in her legs, feet and hands that keep her from getting a good night’s sleep. Results from the 2005 L.A. County Health Survey recently revealed that 50 percent of L.A. County adults such as Ledesma – versus 38 percent of adults throughout the United States – are facing greater complications from arthritis-related diseases. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the U.S., contributing to the estimated $86 billion in national medical costs each year. As the average age of the population increases, the percentage of adults with some form of arthritis and its associated costs are also expected to rise, DHS officials said. “One in five adults will get it,” said Margaret Shih, a Health Services associate. “Once you have arthritis, it’s important to realize that you can manage the symptoms by staying physically active and also maintaining a healthy weight.” But making lifestyle adjustments can be challenging, especially as arthritis sufferers get older.