If you or those you know are suffering from arthritis, it is advisable for them to really learn about the disease and its potential impact that can make life miserable. Despite arthritis is a common disease that affects more than 50 million Americans, I have to say that pinning down the facts about arthritis is not going to be easy.
Let us look at some of the common myths surrounding arthritis.
Myth #1: Arthritis is not a serious health problem.
Fact: This is not true as Arthritis is the leading cause of disability that account for not less than 40 million outpatient visits and about 990 thousand hospitalizations in the United States. Medical researchers estimated that by 2013 about 67 million Americans will have arthritis.
Myth #2: Arthritis is a common minor aches and pains when we get older.
Fact: This is actually wrong, what I can tell you are that arthritis is actually a complex family of musculoskeletal disorders that made up of more than 100 different diseases or conditions that affect people of all ages, races and genders. As such, arthritis is not just a disease of old age. The statistics showed that two-thirds of people with arthritis are under the age of 65 and about 300,000 are children.
Although arthritis can take many forms, but we can group it in three common forms of diseases that make up arthritis:
- Osteoarthritis (OA) – this is the most common form of arthritis. How it happened is through a progressive degenerative of joint that is characterized by the breakdown of joint cartilage. Usually those with OA are demonstrating risk factors such as overweight or obesity as well as age and history of joint injury.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) – is a systemic disease characterized by the inflammation of the membranes lining the joint. The results of RA are pain, stiffness, swelling, warmth and may cause severe joint damage.
- Juvenile Arthritis (JA) – is the many autoimmune and inflammatory conditions that can develop in children ages 16 and younger.
Myth #3: People with arthritis should avoid exercising.
Fact: Contrary to the fact that arthritis hinders movement, exercise is in fact very beneficial against arthritis. To my understanding, medical researchers showed that exercise and weight management with an awareness to avoid joint injury are important in helping to prevent Osteoarthritis (OA). It was said that every one pound of weight loss will take off four pounds of pressure from each knee.
Myth #4: Not much can be done for people having arthritis.
Fact: Again this is not true. From the way I look at it. There are a lot of reliable medical resources that can help us understand the treatment options available and the ongoing medical research will definitely help to determine the underlying causes of arthritis and to find more effective treatment for an eventual cure.
What I can suggest is that for people with arthritis, they should learn all they can about their form of arthritis in order to better manage their symptoms. And, at the end of the day, they might be able to prevent or slow down the progression of their arthritis. Again, physical activity and weight management are something important that can help in managing the pain and stiffness from many forms of arthritis.
I will write more about joints health and arthritis related articles in future and hope the readers will benefit from them.
Tan Kok Hui
Nutrition Made Simple, Life Made Rich