Learn About Arthritis:
Arthritis is a generic term for more than 100 diseases that cause pain, stiffness and swelling. These range from inflammation of a joint to an involvement of the area around joints.
In simple terms, it involves the breakdown of cartilage within joints which causes pain, swelling and restricted movement.
- It is the number one cause of chronic disability in the United States.
- Arthritis afflicts about 40 million men, women and children in America - about 1 out of every 7 people. This gives it the distinction of having the highest incidence rate of all disabilities and health conditions among US adults.
- As the baby boom generation approaches the year 2020, the number of afflicted Americans will grow to about 60 million.
- The disease is physical, but exacts a mental, emotional and economic toll. It is believed that Roman Emperor Diocletian exempted citizens with severe arthritis from paying taxes. This was probably due to the realization that the disease itself can be taxing enough to those that have it as well as their loved ones.
Who Is At Risk To Get Arthritis?
As people grow older, there is a greater risk of developing arthritic symptoms. There is a 59% chance of developing arthritis once a person reaches the age of 65. It is also more prevalent in females than in males.
Since there are many different forms of arthritis, the causes are likely to vary. Scientists are currently examining how the roles of major factors including genetics and lifestyles affect the development of arthritis.
In general; a healthy joint is fully protected by cartilage. This allows for smooth movement as well as acting as a shock absorber when pressure is put on the joint, like when running. Arthritis results from the breakdown of this cartilage (for a variety of reasons). As the cartilage degenerates, the opposing bones of a joint rub together, causing pain, swelling and stiffness.
When the joint remains inflamed even after an injury, disease or a traumatic event, the resulting joint destruction, long-term pain and deformity are referred to as chronic arthritis.
Did You Know?
85% of the human population will experience pain in their joints at some point in their life.
Did you know that many animals also suffer from joint pain? Dogs and horses are especially prone to joint pain.
The risk of joint pain is the cost that we incur for being blessed with a host of articulated joints that move in a manner that has allowed us to evolve into the complex and successful species we are.
- Joint pain
- Joint swelling (can lead to joint deformity)
- Stiffness, especially first thing in the morning
- Warmth emanating from the area around a joint
- Redness of skin around the joint
- Reduced ability to move the joint, limited range of motion
What Can You Do To Prevent Arthritis?
- Stop smoking! It has been shown that the risk of developing some forms of arthritis significantly increase due to smoking.
- Maintain a healthy diet and supplement your diet if you are not getting the nutrients your body needs to maintain health. Recent research has shown the importance of vitamin C and other antioxidants in reducing the risk of Osteoarthritis and its progression.
- Early diagnosis and treatment is key! Early treatment will enable you to prevent, minimize and quite often even reverse joint damage depending on the type/cause of your Arthritic condition.
- Find out if you have a family history of it and take the appropriate preventative action now - even if you currently have no joint pain symptoms.