What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a condition almost everyone has heard of, but what actually is arthritis? As it turns out there are more than 100 of different types of arthritis and related conditions. It is often thought of as being an “old person disease,” but in fact people of all ages, sexes, and races can get arthritis. Many factors such as diet, infection, age, gender, prior injury, and family history can contribute to a person being predisposed to getting arthritis. This is condition in which an individual joint or multiple joints can experience pain, swelling, stiffness, and decreased range of motion. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis.
Arthritis can cause permanent joint changes and is the leading cause of disability in America. Certain changes may be visible, such as knobby finger joints or swelling, but frequently the extent of the joint damage can only be seen on x-ray. Some types of arthritis can also affect the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys and skin as well as the joints.
How is it diagnosed?
Your doctor will take into consideration your past health history, family history, and symptoms. From there they may take x-rays or do blood work to help diagnose and distinguish what type of arthritis you have. Blood tests will be able to detect whether arthritis markers such as rheumatoid factor or anti-ccp are present.
How is it treated?
There are many ways to help reduce symptoms such as ice, heat, medication, dietary restrictions, exercise, chiropractic care, massage, physical therapy, and surgery. The type of arthritis and severity of the person’s condition will determine what the most effective treatment strategy will be. Every person responds differently to treatment so monitoring of the results is very important to long-term symptom management.
How common is it?
Arthritis affects around 54 million people in America today. The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis which an estimated 31 million people have. These number is expected to continue to increase too. By the year 2040, the number of people with arthritis is expected to climb to 78 million people.
With arthritis impacting 26 percent of women and 18 percent of men, more needs to be done to help reduce these numbers. We need to work to increase awareness, do more research, and improve treatment methods.
Walk to cure arthritis
The Walk to Cure Arthritis is an upcoming event in the Puget Sound happening on May 5th. It is being put on by the Arthritis Foundation and is located at the Renton Memorial Stadium. Here is a link to the site where you can sign up to donate or register to walk at the event to help fight against arthritis.