Arthritis Awareness Month
May is Arthritis Awareness Month, an effort to spread awareness about arthritis, osteoarthritis which is the most common and is a serious disease that mainly affects joints in the hands, knees, and hips in adults. While World Arthritis Awareness Day is October 12, 2020. BLUE is the official color for Arthritis Awareness Month so support the awareness by dressing in Blue. “Go Blue”
When you wake up in the morning with a stiff shoulder and an aching knee. You do what you can to loosen up your joints as you go through your morning routine, and then go about your day as usual. It’s not uncommon to have some stiffness in your joints, especially as you age, but how do you know if it’s just a little stiffness or if it is arthritis?
Arthritis isn’t a singular condition. The general term, “arthritis” refers to joint pain or joint disease, but there are more than 100 different types of arthritis. Arthritis is essentially joint function failure, and it can affect anyone regardless of age or gender.
Although arthritis doesn’t discriminate, certain people tend to be at a bigger risk. Women are typically more prone to arthritis than men. And while children and young adults can suffer from arthritis, it is more like to affect the elderly.
Facts about Arthritis
Those who haven’t experienced the pain and mobility issues caused by arthritis may underestimate the impact of this condition. However, arthritis remains the leading cause of disability among the elderly, demanding greater awareness.
This number is even higher for individuals living in rural communities, where nearly one in three adults is affected. Among those diagnosed with arthritis, half report limitations to daily life, including difficulty with common tasks like walking or bending. Additionally, people with arthritis are twice as likely to suffer injuries related to falls.
Now that we’ve covered a little bit about what arthritis is, it’s time to expose some common misconceptions about the condition.
Myth 1: Arthritis only affects the elderly
Arthritis does not only affect those who are in their advanced years. While the risk for arthritis, especially osteoarthritis, increases with age, individuals can be affected at any age. As an autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis can occur at any time. Juvenile arthritis is also an autoimmune disease that is characterized by swelling or inflammation of the synovium in children 16 years and younger.
Myth 2: People with arthritis shouldn’t exercise
According to the Arthritis Foundation, exercise is crucial for those who have arthritis. Exercise provides multiple benefits for arthritis patients, including improving muscle strength to take the pressure off the joints. Increased strength and flexibility helps to reduce joint pain and fight fatigue.
Myth 3: All joint pain is arthritis
Although arthritis is a common diagnosis of joint pain, there are other conditions that can cause joint pain – such as lupus, bursitis, gout, and tendonitis, all of which can result in aches, soreness or discomfort in the joints. Joint pain can also be caused by injury or illness.
Myth 4: There is no treatment for arthritis
Arthritis treatment focuses on alleviating symptoms and improving joint function. There are many different treatment options for arthritis, depending on the type. Doctors often treat rheumatoid arthritis with medication to slow the progression of the autoimmune disease. Osteoarthritis treatments often include over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, weight loss, and other remedies. Physical therapy can also be helpful for some types of arthritis.
Currently, there is nothing that will simply cure arthritis, but there are measures you can take to better manage it.
Diet is important. There are foods that have natural anti-inflammatory properties as well as foods that can worsen your symptoms.
Be active. There have been studies showing that exercise can help slow the effects and lessen the symptoms of arthritis.
No one knows better than your doctor. If you suffer from arthritis, speak to a physician to find out what steps are right for you.
Individuals may need to try a few different treatments or a combination of treatments before deciding what works best.
Keep your bones healthy and strong by taking effective measures!
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