The Arthritis Foundation estimates that more than 50 million American adults, and 300,000 children, have arthritis. The word “arthritis” refers to more than 100 different joint diseases and conditions, and it’s a leading cause of disability in the United States. There’s no cure for most types of arthritis. You can manage the symptoms of arthritis, however. Treating arthritis can help minimize the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.Because there is no cure for arthritis, it's critical to diagnose and treat the condition as early as possible. Click To Tweet
Chronic pain, swelling, and inflammation are common symptoms of arthritis. Arthritis may cause warmth or redness in your joints, and it can result in loss of mobility or limit your range of motion. Some types of arthritis affect other parts of the body in addition to the joints including the heart, skin, liver, eyes, or lungs.
Some people never talk to their doctor about their symptoms. They think that the pain isn’t bad enough to tell their primary care physician, or they assume that the aches and pains are just a normal part of aging. However, arthritis can lead to permanent damage to joints and result in irreversible disability if left untreated.
Osteoarthritis — which is the most common type of arthritis in older adults — occurs when cartilage within the joints wears away over time. This damage results from normal wear and tear over the years, but the effects of osteoarthritis cannot be reversed. But this does not mean that joint pain is a normal part of aging that you must simply endure. Your doctor can help.
Treating arthritis and managing the symptoms
Treating arthritis depends on the type of arthritis you have and the severity of your symptoms. Sometimes arthritis progresses to the point where it requires medications or joint replacement surgery. Sometimes physical therapy or lifestyle changes can help you manage the symptoms of arthritis.
Managing arthritis symptoms includes over-the-counter medicine, heat or cold therapies, stretches, exercise, relaxation techniques, changes in diet, or using assistive devices such as a walker or cane. Before you rely on home remedies for arthritis relief, you should meet with your primary care physician.
It’s important to talk to your doctor about joint pain and other symptoms of arthritis. It’s not just something that comes with old age, and getting the help you need early on can prevent permanent damage or disability.
Talk to your primary care provider about back pain, joint pain, and symptoms that could mean arthritis. You doctor may refer you to a specialist. A doctor that specializes in diagnosing and treating arthritis is known as a rheumatologist. MANA’s board-certified rheumatologist, Dr. Song Zang, provides compassionate care at Fayetteville Diagnostic Clinic.