Did you know that arthritis is the #1 cause of disability in the U.S.? If you didn’t, you’re certainly not alone. Many people underestimate the prevalence and severity of arthritis if it’s not something they regularly encounter. To help promote some awareness of this cause, we wanted to share some facts for May, which has been designated as Arthritis Awareness Month.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is something of a catch-all term used to label over 100 types of conditions that revolve around joint pain. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis involves the deterioration of cartilage over time which allows bones to rub together, leading to pain and swelling. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disorder that involves the immune system mistakenly attacking the lining of the joint capsule. Two other common forms of arthritis are gout and fibromyalgia. Gout results from the buildup of uric acid that causes inflammation and joint pain, most commonly in the big toe. Fibromyalgia is more far-reaching and can arise for several reasons, but it results in pain throughout the body, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.
Arthritis Risk Factors
Arthritis is complicated, and can often arise from a multitude of factors. However, there are some factors that medical professionals know to increase one’s risk of developing arthritis. Some of these risks include obesity, repetitive movements, prior injuries, inactivity, smoking, and old age. Females have a higher risk of developing most types of arthritis.
More than 50 million adults in the U.S. have arthritis, but this problem tends to get less recognition than many other ailments. However, arthritis is not limited to adults. Some 300,000 babies, kids, and teens also have arthritis. Besides the pain and discomfort arthritis causes, it’s also costly in other ways. In many cases, arthritis limits or otherwise impacts individuals’ ability to work. When accounting for lost wages and medical expenses, the annual cost of arthritis and similar disorders totals over $156 billion.
Tips to Manage Symptoms
Since there is no cure for arthritis, those who are dealing with it have to avail themselves of other ways of managing their symptoms. Aerobic exercise, even just taking a walk, is recommended to help reduce the pain of arthritis. This is doubly good because maintaining a healthy weight is important for preventing arthritis and for lessening its severity in those who have it. In fact, more than a third of people who are obese have arthritis. Just be sure that the exercise you’re doing isn’t strenuous to the point where it’s putting more strain on your joints.
If you’d like to show support to all of those who are battling arthritis every day, we have some arthritis awareness gear you can wear to support them. This gear is perfect attire for an Arthritis walk if you can find one in your area to participate in this Arthritis Awareness Month!