Did you know that Arthritis is one of the most disabling diseases? It’s true! Arthritis currently affects more than 40 million Americans and that figure is expected to rise to 60 million by the year 2,020. It is imperative that you read this article and find out what this devastating disease is truly about.
Arthritis: What it Is
Basically, Arthritis is inflammation of the joints. There are currently over 100 forms of Arthritis and remarkably, that number continues to rise. The most common forms of Arthritis include: Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Gout (see our next article, “Symptoms of Arthritis” for more information). Osteoarthritis is the result of degenerative joint disease, or simply “wear and tear” on the joints. Rheumatoid Arthritis is the result of an over active Immune System that results in inflammation. Gout is the oldest form of Arthritis and is the result of too much Uric Acid. The Uric Acid deposits crystals in the joints, leading to “Gouty Arthritis”. The joint pain, inherent to all Arthritis sufferers, is referred to as “Arthralgia”. Not only are the joints susceptible to attack, but the surrounding muscles, tissues, and organs are vulnerable to the effects of Arthritis as well. In fact, Arthritis has been known to attack the heart, kidneys, lungs, and liver.
Many people mistakenly believe that Arthritis is a disease that only affects the elderly. This simply isn’t the case. Yes it’s true that seniors, especially senior women, are effected the greatest by Osteoarthritis, yet the average age for onset of Arthritis is 47 years old, and sufferers are generally afflicted between the ages of 20-50. Sadly, even infants have been diagnosed with forms of Arthritis.
One of the most devastating effects of Arthritis has to be that it is a chronic condition. Arthritis is so weakening that it only grows worse with time. In fact, Arthritis is so detrimental that of the diseases that instill chronic physical disabilities, Arthritis is second only to Heart Disease.
The cost of Arthritis is not only measured in the loss of quality of life, but it is also measured by dollars and cents as well. It is estimated that over $150,000 is lost by an individual over the course of a lifetime due to the debilitating effects of Arthritis. This is totaled by lost wages, medical treatments, and the cost of medically based needs and care.
The overall conclusion is that Arthritis is a seriously unbearable condition that causes chronic pain and weakness. It does not only affect seniors, but forms of Arthritis also plagues children. There are over 100 forms of Arthritis and all Arthritis sufferers share one thing in common, chronic joint pain. The top three common forms of Arthritis include Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Gout. We have seen that Arthritis isn’t cured, but managed.
Some steps and treatment plans used by Arthritis sufferers include:
· Losing Weight (thereby reducing stress and strain on the joints)
· Increasing their Nutritional Intake
· Reducing Stress (both physical and emotional)
· Participating in Gentle Stress Free Exercises such as Stretching
· Using both Hot and Cold Therapies
· Protecting Joints by use of Splints and Braces
· Drug Therapies
If you suffer from Arthritis, don’t give up. There are many people who are discovering that with the proper management and health care provisions, they can live better, healthier, and pain free lives.
· Stay tuned for the next article in our series on Arthritis, “Symptoms of Arthritis”.