VIVA Health: Arthritis Awareness Month

Published: May. 30, 2022 at 11:01 AM CDT
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The following information was provided by VIVA Health:

Arthritis is inflammation or swelling of one or more joints. It describes dozens of conditions that affect joints, tissues around joints, and other connective tissues. Pain, stiffness, and swelling are the most common indicators of arthritis, but symptoms will vary depending on type. Arthritis is very common and affects about one in four American adults or roughly 58 million men and women. Arthritis awareness is observed each May.

Q: What are common forms of arthritis?

A: Common forms of the condition include the following:

· Osteoarthritis- The most common form and involves a breakdown of tissue in a joint. It is often called “wear and tear” arthritis and most frequently affects hands, hips, and knees.

· Rheumatoid Arthritis- An autoimmune disease in which a person’s immune system attacks healthy body cells by mistake. It causes painful swelling in the lining of a joint, causing damage to tissue.

· Gout- Usually affects the big toe joint. It includes times when there are no noticeable symptoms contrasted with times when symptoms get worse, known as flares.

· Fibromyalgia- The cause is unknown. It involves pain all over the body, sleep problems, fatigue, and often emotional and mental distress.

· Childhood Arthritis- It can cause permanent physical damage to joints that make it hard for children to do everyday things like walking or dressing. It can result in disability.

Q: Who is most at risk for developing arthritis?

A: There are risk factors are beyond a person’s control such as, age, gender, and genetics. On the other hand, some lifestyle behaviors and characteristics increase the likelihood of getting some types of arthritis or making it worse. For instance, people who are overweight or obese and those who repetitively stress joints, like athletes, are more likely to get knee osteoarthritis. Those who work at jobs that require overuse or repetitive movements also face a higher risk, while smokers face an increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis.

Q: Should people with arthritis avoid physical activity?

A: Participating in joint-friendly physical activity can improve your arthritis pain, function, mood, and quality of life. Joint-friendly physical activities are low-impact, which means they put less stress on the body, which reduces the risk of injury. Examples include walking, biking, and swimming. Being physically active can also delay the onset of arthritis-related disability and help people with arthritis manage other chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Start slow and pay attention to how your body tolerates it.

Q: What options are available for those living with arthritis?

A: The CDC recommends individuals “Strive for Five” using the following tips to improve quality of life:

1. Research and learn new self-management skills

2. Be active

3. Talk to your doctor

4. Manage your weight, and

5. Protect your joints


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