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Arthritis is a big issue. Look at some introductory facts. Referred to as the nation’s number one crippling disease and the most common chronic disease in people over 40, arthritis affects more than 40 million Americans. And this figure is expected to rise to 60 million by 2020, according to the Center for Disease Control.
Arthritis generally afflicts people between the ages of 20 and 50, but can affect all ages, even infants. The average age of onset is 47 and about three out of every five people with arthritis are under 65 years of age.
Arthritic expenditures for just one person due to lost wages, medical treatment and other related expenses can come to more than $150,000 in his or her lifetime.
And doctors believe there are over 100 different forms of arthritis, all sharing one main characteristic: all forms cause joint inflammation.
What can be done for arthritis relief? Many things. For example, weight and nutrition are only a couple of factors that play a role in arthritic pain. And yet shedding even 10 pounds to relieve weight from knees and finding the right nutritional strategy can help relieve pain a lot.
I give you the most recent research and findings available so that you can learn more about arthritis relief, covering as many bases as possible from A to Z. Note that the contents here are not presented from a medical practitioner, and that any and all health care planning should be made under the guidance of your own medical and health practitioners. The content within only presents an overview of arthritis relief research for educational purposes and does not replace medical advice from a professional physician.
Arthritis signals people in a variety of ways. Joints might crack suddenly, like knees upon standing. Other joints may be stiff and creak. Maybe pain occurs, like when trying to open a jar. What’s it all about? Let’s look at the basics and learn more.
Arthritis actually means “joint inflammation” and has over 100 related conditions or type / forms of disease. Left untreated, it can advance, resulting in joint damage that cannot be undone or reversed. So early detection and treatment are important.
The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Although both have similar symptoms, both happen for different reasons. When joints are overused and misused, the results can be OA. What happens is that the cushioning cartilage that protects the joint breaks down, resulting in the bones rubbing together. This generally happens in the knees, but can be found in the hips, spine and hands often, too. And only in later stages will a person most often feel pain, after quite a bit of cartilage is lost.
The second type, RA, refers to the body’s immune system attacking joint tissue. Still not fully understood in the medical community, this condition most often starts in a person’s hands, wrists and feet. Then it advances to shoulders, elbows and hips.
Similar symptoms include pain, stiffness, fatigue, weakness, slight fever and inflamed tissue lumps under the skin. And both OA and RA generally develop symmetrically, i.e. affecting the same joints on both the left and right sides of the body.
A difference in OA and RA to note is with swelling. With RA, people report “soft and squishy” swelling. While with OA, people report “hard and bony” swelling.
Another difference is that a person is more likely to develop RA if a sibling or parent had it. While a person with a history of joint damage, either an injury or chronic strain, runs a higher risk for developing OA.
There is no specific age for arthritis sufferers. While it can affect every age group, it seems to focus on those over 45 years of age.
And while neither gender is immune, a reported 74 percent of OA cases (or just over 15 million) occur with women and a slightly lower percentage of RA cases occur with women.
People with excess weight tend to develop OA, especially in the knees when reaching over 45 years of age. However, losing weight can turn the odds around almost by half. Regular activity combined with exercise also reduces risk, strengthening joint muscles and reducing joint wear.
Although there are no cure-alls for arthritis, there are a variety of pain relief treatment strategies. Aside from medications, remedies, replacement alternatives and other helpful treatment options and alternatives, the four main arthritis relief aids are gentle exercise, good nutrition, a positive attitude and rest. And each will be discussed further in subsequent sections, because education can play a huge role to dispel “old wives tales” and myths that “nothing can be done about arthritis.” Notable is that today,
only a small percentage of those afflicted with arthritis become crippled. And most never need canes, wheelchairs, or other ambulatory devices.
Also note if you suspect you may have arthritis, it is advisable to seek
medical advice. Because healthcare providers can help to determine if the
symptoms are not something else like a virus or tendonitis or other similar
problem that could potentially worsen if left untreated.