A&L is Going BLUE for Arthritis in May!
May is Arthritis Awareness Month!
From our Health Watch newsletter:
May is recognized each year as National Arthritis Awareness Month. Nearly 53 million adults have doctor-diagnosed arthritis; that number is expected to grow to 67 million by 2030. Almost 300,000 babies, kids and teens have arthritis or a rheumatic condition. Arthritis is the nation’s No. 1 cause of disability.
Osteoarthritis is a joint disease that mostly effects cartilage. Cartilage is the slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint. It also help absorb shock of movement. In osteoarthritis, the top layer of cartilage breaks down and wears away. This allows bones under the cartilage to rub together. The rubbing causes pain, swelling, and loss of motion of the joint. Over time, the joint may lose its normal shape. Also, bone spurs may grow on the edges of the joint. Bits of bone or cartilage can break off and float inside the joint space, which causes more pain and damage.
People with osteoarthritis often have joint pain and reduced motion. Unlike some other forms of arthritis, osteoarthritis affects only joints and not internal organs. Rheumatoid arthritis–the second most common form of arthritis–affects other parts of the body besides the joints. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis.
Osteoarthritis occurs most often in older people. Younger people sometimes get osteoarthritis primarily from joint injuries. The cause of osteoarthritis is unknown. Factors that might cause it include: being overweight, getting older, joint injury, joints are are not properly formed, a genetic defect in joint cartilage, and stress on the joints from certain jobs and playing sports.
Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint. It occurs most often in the hands, knees, hips, and spine. Warning signs of osteoarthritis are: stiffness in a joint after getting out of bed or sitting for a long time, swelling or tenderness in one or more joints, a crunching feeling or the sound of bone rubbing on bone.
Doctors often combine treatments to fit patient’s needs, lifestyle, and health. Osteoarthritis treatment has four main goals: improve joint function, keep a health body weight, control pain, achieve health lifestyle.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that affects the joints. It causes pain, swelling and stiffness. If one knee or hand has rheumatoid arthritis, usually the other does too. This disease often occurs in more than one joint and can affect any joint in the body. People with this disease may feel sick and tired, and they sometimes get fevers.
Some people have this disease for only a few months or a year or two. Then it goes away without causing damage. Other people have times when the symptoms get worse (flares), and times when they get better (remissions). Others have a severe form of the disease that can last for many years or a lifetime. This form of the disease can cause serious joint damage.
Anyone can get this disease, though it occurs more often in women. Rheumatoid arthritis often starts in middle age and is most common in older people. But children and young adult can also get it.
Doctor’s don’t know the exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis. They know that with this arthritis, a person’s immune system attacks his or her own body tissues. Researchers are learning many things about why and how this happens. Things that may cause rheumatoid arthritis are: genes (passed from parent to child), environment, and hormones.
Doctors have many ways to treat this disease. The goals of treatment are to: take away pain, reduce swelling, slow down or stop joint damage, help people feel better, and stay active. Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis may involve lifestyle changes, medicine, surgery, regular doctor visits and alternative therapies. Lifestyle changes include keep a good balance between rest and exercise, take care of your joints, lower your stress and eat a healthy diet.
Most people with rheumatoid arthritis take medicine. Drugs can be used for pain relief, to reduce swelling, and to stop the disease from getting worse. What a doctor prescribes depends on: the person’s general health, how serious the rheumatoid arthritis is, how serious the rheumatoid arthritis may become, how long the person will take the drug, how well the drug works, and the possible side effects.