Arthritis

Background

Arthritis is a condition affecting over 3 million new patients each year, and approximately 23% of adults in Idaho are affected by arthritis.  A common misconception about this condition is that arthritis is one disease when in fact, arthritis is a common symptom of a group of diseases called rheumatic diseases. Arthritis directly means inflammation of the joint. Additional symptoms in the joint include pain, stiffness, and swelling. In some cases, joints are not the only thing affected by these rheumatic diseases, sometimes tendons, muscle or skin are affected.

There are 100’s of types of arthritis that can occur in patients, although only a few are seen by physicians’ day to day. Osteoarthritis also is known as degenerative joint disease is the most commonly seen form of arthritis. It often develops from wear and tear on a joint, and cartilage damage occurs leading to poor function of the joint. Another common type of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis with is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the synovium in multiple joints.

Arthritis affects people of all ages. In fact, 2/3 of people affected with arthritis are under 65. Even more surprising one in 250 children suffers from an arthritic disorder. Additionally, arthritis is more common in women. Affecting 22.7 million people, arthritis is the leading causes of disability. Unfortunately, there is no cure for arthritis only treatment for symptoms. Early diagnosis is key to helping patients deal with arthritis. A significant number of people confuse arthritis for an injury when they first experience pain, deciding to wait it out before going to see a doctor.

Learning to live with Arthritis

Arthritis has a large impact on a patient’s lifestyle. Individuals will struggle with emotions as people find their new normal because they may need help doing everyday tasks they could do independently before. Generally, patients will slowly adjust to the challenges presented with arthritis.

Due to the lack of a cure for arthritis, it is imperative that patients eat a balanced diet, get adequate sleep, exercise regularly, avoid stress, and stay at a healthy weight. Eventually, most people may need assistive devices or products to help with mobility. Patients should make sure they have access to all resources to help make their lifestyle as enjoyable as possible.

If you are struggling with joint pain, walk-in to DOC to be evaluated!

Sources:

Arthritis. At-a-Glance. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated 07/22/15.