Ten Facts to Know About Arthritis

 X-ray of a patient with rheumatoid arthritis in ankle jointyayimages.com

Arthritis is one of the most common medical conditions of the bones and joints. With that said, this disease is greatly under-rated and highly misunderstood. Over 50 million adults and 300,000 children currently suffer from atrhritis. Women and seniors are most affected by it, feeling frequent joint pain and swelling. Although it is not related to gender, race, or age group, the condition can worsen as we get older. 

The pain and stiffness can hamper the motor skills and the ability to move. The symptoms can be temporary or permanent, mild, or severe. A patient can experience difficulty in carrying out daily tasks like climbing stairs or walking. Since the bones affected by arthritis deteriorates with time, it is important to understand what is happening and there are ways to limit acquiring this bone disease. Let’s take a look at what arthritis is all about first.

There are more than 100 types of Arthritis Conditions

Arthritis is a term used to represent numerous types of bone and joint conditions. The types are categorized by degenerative, inflammatory, infectious, and metabolic arthritis. The two most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis targets the hard, lubricated tissue lining the joints, called cartilage, whereas rheumatoid arthritis triggers the immune system which works against the joints.

Rheumatologists are Arthritis Specialists

When dealing with specialized conditions, it is important to refer to the professionals trained in that specific area. To provide effective care for arthritis, rheumatologists should be referred to. They’ll be able to diagnose the type of arthritis and plan a treatment plan accordingly.

Arthritis Patients Face Difficulties in Daily Tasks

Person bending with knee injuryModerate to severe arthritis can cause physical limitations and even a person’s daily chores can become painful. Bone and joint pain make bending, walking, and climbing difficult. People may also need assistance in cooking, cleaning, bathing, and other home chores.

Arthritis is Incurable

This might be the worst thing about arthritis. There is no known treatment or medication that can be used to cure it completely. However, your doctor will be able to prescribe antibiotics for Lyme’s arthritis or medication to reduce pain, swelling, and other symptoms. These medicines can be effective in slowing down the disease and controlling the associated conditions, but there’s no way currently available to cure the disease completely.

Early Diagnosis Can Definitely Help

Like all other diseases, diagnosing arthritis in its initial stages can help treat the disease. If the symptoms worsened with time, there’s not much that can be done. The ideal treatment plan would entail an early diagnosis and medication to regress the progression of the disease.

Arthritis Can be Controlled by Adopting Healthy Habits

A healthy lifestyle can make a huge difference for arthritis for patients if they adopt habits like regular exercising, healthy eating, managing stress, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting sufficient sleep. It is important to quit smoking and drinking as these habits can worsen the illness.

A Lot of Information about Arthritis Is Misleading

You’ll be surprised to know that several things associated with arthritis are based on myths, misconceptions, and rumors. The belief that this disease is age-specific and will affect only old people is incorrect. Age is not a cause of arthritis. Similarly, climate and diet have nothing to do with it either. Even though the thought of curing the disease is a good one, it is still just a myth. Lack of compassion also gives birth to some myths. Arthritis pain is not “just pain”, it can get quite severe and can interfere with the daily life anyone who acquires it.

Each Person Will Have a Different Reaction to Treatment

Senior Citizen showing hands hurt from arthritis

The treatment of arthritis will differ from patient to patient. The doctor will adopt a trial and error method and prescribe different medications including NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), DMARDs (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs), analgesics (pain medications), biologics, or corticosteroids. The treatment plan will be refined based on the patient’s reaction until the most optimum combination of medicines is found.

The Treatment Can Be Expensive

Arthritis is the number one cause of disability in America and its treatment can be quite expensive. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The national arthritis-attributable medical expenditures were estimated to reach annual medical expenditures can be as high as $140 billion in 2013. The disease can leave the patients impaired and this may lso costs them wage losses along with medical costs, which can almost double this amount. In 2013, this was estimated to be $303.5 billion or 1% of the 2013 US Gross Domestic Product

Arthritis Can Be Emotionally Exhausting

A person can suffer from depression due to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. While there are numerous physical limitations of the disease, the emotional trauma goes beyond that. There lies a huge responsibility on the family and friends of the patients. At its worst, the anger, resentment, and fear can lead to self-destructive practices and may even take away the will to live. People suffering from arthritis should be treated with love and support.

Arthritis and associated conditions can affect a patient’s life and the society in general. We hope that this brief article can hlep you gain some introductory knowledge about this disease. Living a life with pain and discomfort is no fun, but knowing about the disease can help in early diagnosis and effective treatment. Talk to your doctor and find out what he/she recommends!