May is Arthritis Awareness Month

May is Arthritis Awareness Month


Arthritis affects 50 million Americans and is still a misunderstood disease.  It is the leading cause of disability in the United States. The three main types of arthritis are Osteoarthritis (OA), Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), and Juvenile Arthritis (JA). OA is the most common arthritis that breaks down joint cartilage. RA is the inflammation of the membranes that line the joint. Finally, JA can be many autoimmune and inflammatory conditions in children 16 years and younger.


What is arthritis and who does it affect?


Arthritis is numerous musculoskeletal disorders that consist of more than 100 diseases.  Two-thirds of people with arthritis are 65 or younger and 300,000 are children. Arthritis can happen to any race, age, or gender. It affects Caucasians more than African Americans and Hispanics.


What causes and symptoms of arthritis?


The causes differ for each type of arthritis. RA has no known causes but scientists believe it could be a combination of genetics and environmental factors and there are no known causes for JA. Causes for OA are age, obesity, injury or overuse, genetics, and muscle weakness.  Symptoms also vary depending on the type of arthritis. Some patients may have pain, soreness, stiffness, warmth, and swelling.


How can I prevent and treat arthritis?


To prevent against arthritis you should be active and maintain a healthy weight to protect your joints.  With treating arthritis you should know what type you have. After you understand more about the type of arthritis you have there are several ways you can treat it, but keep in mind each type is different. Seeing a physician or occupational therapist on a regular basis and taking prescribed medications will also help in the treatment of arthritis.


** It is best to see your primary care physician regularly in order to prevent and treat your arthritis. Please call 773-702-0660 to make an appointment at Friend Family Health Center. **

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