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May is Arthritis Awareness Month

Posted by on May 1st, 2018 Posted in: Aging, Blog

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“Arthritis.” via MedlinePlus.gov, April 6, 2018, Public Domain.

It’s the first day of May and the beginning of Arthritis Awareness Month.  An estimated 22.7% of the U.S. population has received an arthritis diagnosis from a doctor.  43.5% of diagnosed patients have had to limit their activities due to this condition.

Arthritis is a blanket term used to describe joint pain or joint disease.  There are actually several types of arthritis with osteoarthritis being the most common.  Osteoarthritis often occurs as we age or following an injury (post traumatic arthritis.)  Other types of arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile arthritis, infectious arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and gout.

There are several risk factors for arthritis and the CDC lists two categories of risks.  Those you can change (modifiable) and those you cannot change (non-modifiable):

Non-modifiable risk factors

  • Age: The risk of developing most types of arthritis increases with age.
  • Gender: Most types of arthritis are more common in women; 52% of all adults with arthritis are women. Gout is more common in men.
  • Genetic: Specific genes are associated with a higher risk of certain types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematous (SLE), and ankylosing spondylitis.

Modifiable risk factors

  • Overweight and Obesity: Excess weight can contribute to both the onset and progression of knee osteoarthritis.
  • Joint Injuries: Damage to a joint can contribute to the development of osteoarthritis in that joint.
  • Infection: Many microbial agents can infect joints and potentially cause the development of various forms of arthritis.
  • Occupation: Certain occupations involving repetitive knee bending and squatting are associated with osteoarthritis of the knee.

There are a variety of treatments available for arthritis such as oral and topical medications, injections, activity modification, and surgery.  Clinical trials are also an available option to arthritis sufferers.

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