An estimated 23 million people with arthritis are limited in their ability to do daily activities such as standing, bending, walking and climbing stairs- making arthritis the nation’s #1 cause of disability. Arthritis awareness month is intended not only to educate others about arthritis, but also to help bring awareness of how many people are affected by this health condition and how it can be prevented.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is an inflammation of joints in the human body. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, which have a variety of causes and treatments. Arthritis can cause permanent joint damage and can also affect the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys and skin.
Common Types of Arthritis
• Rheumatoid arthritis – an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks the normal joint tissues, causing inflammation.
• Osteoarthritis – cartilage breaks down over time, and wear-and-tear damage occurs in the joint’s cartilage.
• Gout – one of the most painful forms of arthritis; occurs when there is too much uric acid buildup in the body.
• Normal wear and tear of your joints
• Damage of the synovium
• Family history
• Infection in the joint
• Injury to the joint
• Overactive immune system
Did you know that 1 in 3 adults 65 and older in the U.S. have Osteoarthritis?
• Joint pain
• Redness of the skin
• Physical exam involving extraction and analysis of inflammation levels in the blood and joint fluids
• X-Ray, MRI, and CT scans to produce an image of the patient’s bones and cartilage
• Medication – non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (which help control pain and inflammation), methol creams (which help to block transmission of pain signals from your joint).
• Surgery – replacement of the joint with an artificial one; commonly performed to replace knees and hips.
• Physical Therapy – patient exercises in an effort to strengthen the muscles surrounding the affected joint.
• Regular consumption of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids helps to reduce inflammation in the body and lowers the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
• Maintaining a healthy weight can help to reduce your chances of getting arthritis.
• Seeing your physician regularly will help you to get the best early treatments and lifestyle interventions if you are experiencing any pain in your joints.
• Exercising weekly will not only help you to relieve stress of excess weight on your joints, but will help you to strengthen your muscles around your joints.