Taking a Closer Look at Arthritis
Arthritis is a disease we hear about all the time but perhaps don’t take as seriously as we should. With one in every four adults suffering from the disease, it is likely you either have arthritis or know someone who does. It’s time to take a closer look at this common disease.
What Is Arthritis?
Arthritis is actually an umbrella term for more than 100 types of joint conditions. The most prevalent type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which affects 30 million Americans. Other common types include lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and fibromyalgia.
Understanding Risk Factors
One of the most prevalent modifiable risk factors for osteoarthritis is being overweight or obese. Other risk factors include poor levels of physical activity, injury to the joint, and occupations that involve repetitive movements. By protecting and caring for our joints, we can reduce the risk and severity of arthritis.
How do you know that the joint pain in your knees, hips, or fingers is due to arthritis? There is no one telltale sign of arthritis. But some of the most common symptoms of arthritis include painful achy joints, stiffness, and swelling, which can take a tremendous toll on everyday quality of life. For example, many people with arthritis are unable to climb stairs, grasp a cup, or participate in activities they once enjoyed.
Exploring Treatment Options
There is no cure for arthritis. But thankfully, treatment options can help control pain and swelling, minimize damage to the joint, and improve function. Some common treatment options for osteoarthritis include:
- Medications such as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to reduce pain and lower inflammation
- Splinting or braces to support weakened joints
- Joint replacement surgery to relieve pain and increase mobility
In addition, some of the most effective treatment options for reducing symptoms of osteoarthritis are self-management steps. These include:
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Getting regular exercise.
- Joining a patient education class.
Living Your Best Life
Work closely with one of our board-certified rheumatology specialists to find treatment options that are right for you. Millions of people are living productive, fulfilling lives with arthritis—do what you can to count yourself among them.