Arthritis Awareness Month

May is Arthritis Awareness Month, and TOI would like to shed light on what arthritis is and how to treat it. The purpose of Arthritis Awareness Month is to educate the public on the growing prevalence of arthritis while encouraging lifestyle choices that aid in its prevention. If you have arthritis, we encourage you to speak with one of our orthopaedic specialists today.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation in the joints. Symptoms tend to develop over time, starting in smaller joints and eventually spreading to larger ones in most cases. There are many different types of arthritis, but the two most common are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). OA typically occurs in old age as the body naturally breaks down cartilage between the joints. RA occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the cartilage between the joints, wearing them out and leading to inflammation.

Symptoms of arthritis typically include:

  • Joint pain
  • Joint stiffness, especially in the morning
  • Swelling
  • Reduced range of motion

How prevalent is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a relatively common condition that seems to be growing in prevalence. It currently affects 1 in 4 American adults, which is roughly 54 million people. That number is expected to increase to 78 million people by the year 2040. Half the people living with heart disease and diabetes also have arthritis, making it even more difficult to control the symptoms.

While arthritis is increasingly common, it shouldn’t be. In fact, arthritis can be prevented throughout one’s life with regular physical activity and other lifestyle choices.

How can we prevent and treat Arthritis?

Patients can prevent arthritis through lifestyle choices. Individuals who exercise regularly, eat clean and control their weight have a significantly lower chance of developing arthritis, even in old age.

Patients who already have arthritis can manage their symptoms through lifestyle choices and medical interventions. Physical activity can help reduce the symptoms associated with arthritis. Low-impact exercises such as yoga and water aerobics are the best options to prevent further joint degeneration. Medication and physical therapy are also options.

If you suffer from arthritis, turn to the experts at TOI. Our board-certified orthopaedic specialists can develop a personalized treatment plan to help you find relief. Schedule your appointment today!