Arthritis is very common, but it’s often misunderstood. Gaining a better understanding of the condition will help you know when to seek medical attention. Here are ten facts about arthritis that you might not know.
Arthritis doesn’t refer to a single disease.
More than 100 different diseases and conditions are included under the umbrella term “arthritis.” Arthritis refers to pain, discomfort, swelling, or inflammation of the joint or connective tissue around the joint.
Arthritis affects 1 in 4 adults.
According to the CDC, more than 54.4 million adults in the United States have arthritis. That means arthritis affects more than 25% of American adults.
The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis, or degenerative arthritis, affects roughly 31 million Americans. Other types of arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and gout.
Some chronic conditions increase a person’s risk for arthritis.
Almost half of adults with heart disease and half of adults with diabetes also have arthritis. Roughly one third of adults who are obese also have arthritis.
Arthritis can affect anyone.
While arthritis is more common in older adults and women, it can develop in anyone at any age.
Arthritis is on the rise.
Some studies estimate that there will be more than 78 million diagnosed cases of arthritis by 2040.
Arthritis can be debilitating.
Occasional pain can still be caused by arthritis.
Symptoms of arthritis may come and go, and they can vary in severity. Having symptom-free periods does not mean that you do not have arthritis.
Arthritis can cause permanent changes to your joints.
Arthritis can get progressively worse and result in permanent changes to your joints. Sometimes these changes result in pain, limited motion, or disability. That’s why it’s important to seek medical care for arthritis early on.
There are ways to manage arthritis.
There are things you can do to manage some types of arthritis. Management options may include combining exercise and rest, hot and cold therapies, maintaining a healthy weight, muscle strengthening, stretching, range of motion exercises, and medication.
Since there are so many different types of arthritis, managing arthritis varies by individual. The first thing you should do is talk to your primary care doctor. Call 479-582-7330 or log in to myMANA to schedule an appointment with a rheumatologist at Fayetteville Diagnostic Clinic.