Thursday, October 3, 2019
If you have joint pain, stiffness, swelling, redness, and
lessening mobility, you may have arthritis. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
have designated May as National
Arthritis Month and they tell us that if you’re
suffering from these symptoms, you’re in good company. Doctors have diagnosed
54 million Americans with this disease. By 2040 that number will grow to 78
But how can you know if that shoulder, knee, elbow, hip, or
other joint pain is really arthritis? Can the disease be prevented or stopped?
Here’s what you need to know to fight back against the painful joint condition known
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is caused by inflammation, which targets your
body’s joints by destroying the cartilage connective tissue between bones.
Cartilage serves as an important shock absorber to keep the bones from rubbing
together when you move. Arthritis attacks these physical cushions, causing the
joint to stiffen and become painful.
There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and
similar joint ailments but the two most common are:
- Osteoarthritis/Rheumatoid arthritis
- Psoriatic arthritis
All forms of arthritis typically cause pain, which can be
severe. There is no cure currently for arthritis, but there are treatments to
manage these diseases and the pain that they cause.
How Do I Know if I Have Arthritis?
many people may suspect they have arthritis but just think of it as a natural
part of the aging process. They may not even talk with their doctor because
they assume there’s nothing they can do about it. But the truth is that even
children can get arthritis and no matter your age -- it is treatable.
best way to find out if you have arthritis is to speak with your doctor. The disease
can be tricky to diagnose because the symptoms can vary by person and by the
type of arthritis that occurs. But your doctor can do a complete family and
medical history, as well as a hands-on examination of the joint that’s causing
Arthritis can occur in multiple areas, so it’s important to
speak with your doctor about all of your symptoms. Your doctor will gently
check the mobility of your joints and feel for heat, pain, and swelling.
The doctor may suspect arthritis, but also order imaging or
lab tests to confirm the diagnosis. Unfortunately, you may even have more than
one type of arthritis occurring in multiple joints.
Can I Prevent
joints that bear weight, such as your spine, knees, feet, and hips, are
typically the most common places where arthritis starts. Staying fit and active
is an important way to prevent additional strain on the joints that carry you.
diet can help reduce inflammation in the body, as well. The Arthritis Foundation
recommends avoiding processed foods high in saturated fats. They suggest
following a Mediterranean diet of fish, fruits, nuts,
vegetables, and beans to reduce inflammation.
How Can My Doctor Help?
there are some excellent medications available that can slow down the
progression of the disease. The first step may be to lower the level of
inflammation in the body. Your doctor may discuss your diet, exercise,
or prescribe a corticosteroid or other anti-rheumatic medication to stop the
progression of the disease. Obesity has been correlated to arthritis, so your
doctor may talk about exercise along with at-home treatments like icing or heat
to soothe the afflicted joint.
diagnosis and treatment are crucial to help you avoid permanent and potentially
debilitating damage from arthritis. Arthritis is not inevitable; aging does not
mean you will get the disease.
you’re worried that joint pain may be a sign of something more serious, book an
appointment with OrthoCincy today. We can help.