May is the Arthritis Awareness Month! It’s not just a month to remember and take care of yourself but a reminder to look after yourself and improve your overall quality of life. Arthritis is the most common condition among people in the US. 1 in 4 US adults (23.7%), or about 58.5 million people, have been diagnosed with arthritis. It is more common in women compared to men. In this condition, cartilage, a slippery material that covers the ends of bones, acts as a cushion to bones and starts breaking down. There are 100 types of arthritis, and the condition worsens with age. It may also happen due to extra stress or weight on joints (obesity). Joints like hips, feet, spine, and knees bear the body weight and are the most common places for arthritis. Most types of arthritis cause pain and stiffness in and around the affected joint or joints. But some can affect the immune system, such as rheumatoid arthritis and other body organs.
Remember, the condition can significantly impact individuals by limiting their activities. The symptoms depend on which joint is affected, such as stiffness or deep pain, bending, squatting, climbing stairs, gripping things such as holding mugs, handles, combing hair, etc. Even morning stiffness, pain while walking or any other activity, and body stiffness after rest. If you experience such signs and feel your movement is restricted and have swollen joints with warm joints, you may be having arthritis. But an accurate diagnosis is quite essential in the recovery process. However, the first steps in working toward arthritis are learning facts, understanding your condition, and knowing that help is by your side.
Types of Arthritis
It is hard to live with a chronic condition, and we understand any condition can pull people down. Still, difficult times like these assess your strength and willingness to overcome any situation. Remember, there are 100 types of arthritis, but the most common are the following:
· Osteoarthritis, or “wear and tear” arthritis, happens when the joint cartilage breaks down from repeated stress. Don’t forget it is the most common form of arthritis.
· Ankylosing spondylitis, or arthritis, is arthritis of the spine (usually your lower back).
· Juvenile arthritis (JA), a disorder where the immune system attacks the tissue around joints. The condition typically affects children at the age of 16 or younger.
· Gout, a common form of inflammatory arthritis that is very painful. It affects one joint at a time. If the body produces extra uric acid, sharp crystals may form in joints.
· Psoriatic arthritis, is a joint inflammation that develops in people with psoriasis (autoimmune disorder that causes skin irritation).
· Rheumatoid arthritis, is an inflammatory and autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack the thin membrane that lines the joints.
Changing your routine can make your life easier with arthritis. Try to adjust your activities and lessen them to relieve stress on your joints. Remember, proper healthcare throughout the seasons can help your condition. So, don’t wait for anything and start your healing process with the diagnosis!