Did you know that 24% of adults in the U.S. have some type of arthritis?1 Arthritis impacts people’s lives in many ways, from making it impossible to work to making everyday tasks more difficult. Statistics show that nearly 26 million people cannot do daily activities because of arthritis.1 There is no denying that arthritis can be a debilitating disease.
Since May is Arthritis Awareness Month, it is the perfect time to take a closer look at this condition. As we highlight some types of arthritis patients may be dealing with, we’ll also look at treatment and prevention. You’ll also learn how services at Encore Communities can help people dealing with arthritis live a better life.
What is Arthritis?
When discussing arthritis, we discuss the swelling or tenderness of one or more joints.2 Arthritis can impact the body in many ways, as there are over 100 types of arthritis. It is the leading cause of work disability, with annual medical care and lost earnings of over $300 billion.1
Most Common Types of Arthritis
The most common types of arthritis include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Each causes pain at various levels.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and involves the wear and tear of the joint’s cartilage. 2 Cartilage cushions the ends of the bones, but when there is damage, it results in bones grinding on one another. This leads to pain and restricted movement. If the cartilage in a joint is severely damaged, the joint lining can become inflamed and swollen.
Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the immune system attacks the lining of the joint capsule, which encloses all of the common parts.2 The lining becomes inflamed and swollen. Over time, it can destroy cartilage and bone within the joint.
Arthritis goes far beyond having the few aches and pains we all experience from time to time. Let’s review some symptoms people can experience. These include2:
- Extreme pain
Symptoms can come and go and can vary in severity.
Arthritis can also lead to permanent joint changes. Knobby-looking finger joints are one sign, but often only X-rays can detect the damage.3 Some types of arthritis can also impact the eyes, lungs, kidneys, and heart.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, talk to your doctor. They will conduct a physical exam and may order some bloodwork to make a diagnosis.
Arthritis Risk Factors
Certain factors can put you at a higher risk of developing arthritis. These include2:
- Age – The risk of getting many types of arthritis increases with age.
- Family History – Some types of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis, can run families.
- Obesity – If you are obese, excess weight can stress joints, especially the knees, hips, and spine.
- Previous injuries – If you have injured your joints before, you are more likely to develop arthritis in that area.
It’s also important to note that women are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis, while gout, another form of arthritis, is more common in men.
Arthritis treatment will depend on the type of arthritis you have and its severity. Some common treatments are3:
- Joint immobilization
- Massage therapy
- Hot and cold therapy
Some patients also benefit from corticosteroid injections or oral medications to reduce inflammation and swelling. In severe cases, someone may need surgery to help relieve pain.
Arthritis Prevention Tips During Arthritis Awareness Month & Beyond
Arthritis Awareness Month is an excellent time to look at ways to prevent arthritis. If you know, you have a family history of arthritis or just want to take precautions to avoid developing it. There are some things you can do.1
Physical activity such as walking, biking, and swimming can decrease pain and improve mobility. Also, maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the strain on your joints. If you have previous joint injuries, avoiding activities that will only worsen is a good idea. You can also talk to your doctor to determine what other actions you can take to prevent arthritis.
How Encore Communities Can Help Patients with Arthritis
At Encore Communities, we help patients struggling with arthritis in different ways. Our skilled nursing services provide care and support from not only registered nurses but also specialized services of physical therapists, occupational therapists, and other health professionals. These services can help people dealing with different types of arthritis cope with their condition and live as independently as possible for as long as possible.
When the impact of arthritis makes it necessary to have added care more frequently, assisted living options at Encore Communities can be the perfect answer. With assisted living, people can get the help they need with daily chores and have access to health and medical care. Assisted living services include:
- Onsite nursing 24/7
- Emergency call system
- Fall prevention and response
- Much More!
Encore Communities has locations in Washington and Oregon to suit each patient’s assisted living needs. For more information on how Encore Communities can help people with arthritis or other common conditions that come with aging or injury, call us today or contact us online.
Dan is Vice President, Marketing of the Alumus family of companies. A Seattle native, he earned his BA in Humanities and Political Science at Evergreen State College. He started his career as a newspaper columnist, eventually transitioning into marketing and tech writing for Microsoft and several other startups. He later launched a successful creative agency focused on branding, digital marketing, and content production in Los Angeles, where he worked for several nursing and behavioral health clients, eventually becoming the National Marketing Director for one of them.
He has taught Vipassana mindfulness meditation and MBSR and spends whatever free time he has with his son snowboarding, hiking, and camping in the mountains.