There are a number of types of arthritis that one can suffer from.
Arthritis is defined by the Mayo Clinic as the inflammation of one or more joints; causing pain & stiffness in those particular affected areas. Each type of arthritis has its own list of specific risks and possible causes but in most cases the result is the same, a degenerative disease that causes pain, stiffness and weakness.
- Osteoarthritis – is the most common type of arthritis & affects approximately 33 million people. This type of arthritis is generally caused by overuse & aging, which is why it is the most common type of arthritis among the U.S. population.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis – is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the joints’ lining, causing swelling, pain & destruction of the cartilage that surrounds the joint.
- Gout – is a form of arthritis in which the body’s metabolism is actually defective in the sense that it creates an excess amount of uric acid, which forms sharp painful crystals. Gout commonly affects the foot area but can also cause kidney stones, hand pain, swelling in the affected areas & redness.
- Age – unfortunately we all age & with that our risk of getting osteoarthritis increases
- Weight – carrying extra weight can put extra wear & tear on your joints, causing osteoarthritis to set in
- Repetitive Movements – utilizing the joint over and over simply causes over use and wear on your joints
- Diet – a healthy diet can help you deter gout flare ups. This includes limiting alcohol, foods high in purine (fish, seafood, oatmeal, wheat germ, red meat)
- Family History – those who have others in the family with gout are at an increased risk of having gout themselves
- Weight – generally speaking, those who are overweight tend to eat foods that are high in fat. Like most types of arthritis weight/diet plays a large part in being at risk.
- Having an Autoimmune Disease – those who already have one autoimmune disease (such as Multiple Sclerosis, Graves Disease, IBD) are more susceptible to getting another autoimmune disease, including R.A.
- Gender – According to the American College of Rheumatology 75% of those affected by R.A. are women.
- Weight – Being overweight can cause damage to the joints, allowing R.A. to take over.
As you can see, there are some risk factors that you have no control over; age, family hereditary risk, gender, & having an autoimmune disease already. However, you may have also noticed that for every type of arthritis listed diet and weight are huge factors so keeping active & healthy makes a big difference.
Living With Arthritis
Those who have arthritis may suffer from debilitating pain, swelling, and fatigue that can cause life to become a chore. There’s no reason to suffer.
- Find a Rheumatologist – it is important to have a specialist monitor your arthritis & help you.
- Keep Active – keeping your body moving, even while suffering from the pain of arthritis, is imperative. Look into a local class created specifically for those with arthritis (held in a pool or focusing on low impact).
- Seek Help – know when you can’t do it alone. There is no harm in having a caregiver come to help you with simple tasks, self hygiene, light cleaning, and preparing meals.
Contact us if you or someone you love has arthritis that is making their life hard. We can offer help to those in our service area. Continue to watch our blogs for more
Photo by Sohel Parvez Haque