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The Best Facts About Arthritis. 

 February 22, 2024

By  Linda Rook

Pain in Fingers

Introduction.

Arthritis has a widespread condition that affects the joints that causes pain, stiffness, inflammation and swelling. Unfortunately, it can develop in children and teens as well as the elderly.

There are 100 different types of arthritis with millions of people worldwide with the condition.

Arthritis is a common disease, but often not understood.  Some of you may be familiar with the terms, but some remain unknown.

The rest of this blog I shall show you ten facts about this terrible disease.

Fact One - A Common Condition:

Arthritis is a common, widespread disease that is one of the most leading health conditions in the world. 

Below are some common key points of arthritis.

  • Arthritis is a global health concern that develops in people in most of the country.  The last estimation was that 350 million people globally has arthritis, making it the most leading cause of disability.
  • Arthritis includes a wide-ranging condition, with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis being the most common types. Other forms of arthritis, such as psoriatic arthritis, gout, and ankylosing spondylitis, also contribute to the overall occurrence.
  • Arthritis can attack people of all ages, but it is more common with advancing age. The risk of developing arthritis increases as people get older.
  • Arthritis can significantly influence a person's quality of life by causing pain, reduced mobility, and limitations in daily activities.
  • The economic and healthcare burden of arthritis is substantial. Resulting in significant healthcare costs.  The costs can include medical treatments, hospitalizations, and disability-related expenses.
  • Arthritis can manifest differently in people, with varying degrees of cruelty and impact on daily life.
  • there is ongoing research and public health efforts aimed at improving prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment options.
  • It is crucial for people who experience joint pain or other symptoms to seek medical examination and appropriate care to successfully manage the condition and maintain their quality of life.
Pain at the bottom of spine

Fact Two – Age is Not the Only Factor.

Arthritis can develop at any age, from children, teenagers and the elderly.  But it is more commonly related with older adults. The risk of arthritis has been shown that it increases as you age.

The following list shows you how arthritis can affect different age groups:

  • Juvenile Arthritis: Juvenile idiopathic arthritis or (JIA) is a type of arthritis affecting children and adolescents under the age of 16.
  • Adult-Onset Arthritis: Arthritis is more dominant in adults, mainly as they get older. The types are Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout.
little girl with inflamed joint elbow pain
  • Senior Citizens: Arthritis is most widespread among older adults. The type is Osteoarthritis, where it is wear and tear of the joints.
  • It is important to know that whilst arthritis is more common in older age groups, it can occur at any stage of life.
  • Some forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, can develop in young adults and continue throughout their lives.
  • Fact Three - Inflammatory versus non-inflammatory.

    Arthritis can be in two main groups based on whether it involves inflammation in the joints: inflammatory arthritis and non-inflammatory arthritis.

    Here I shall put it in simpler terms.

    Inflammatory Arthritis.

    When you get inflammatory arthritis, it is caused by an autoimmune response.  Meaning that when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the synovium.  The synovium is the membrane that surrounds the joints. 

    The immune response leads to joint inflammation and damage.  Inflammation often has a sudden onset, with the symptoms worsen quickly.

    Common symptoms of inflammatory arthritis include joint pain, swelling, warmth, redness and stiff in the morning for about half an hour or more. 

    Types of inflammatory arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and lupus.

    Diagnosis can involve blood tests, MRI, or x-rays, to assess the joint inflammation and damage.

    The treatment is DMARDs, biologic therapies and inti-inflammatory medication to control the inflammation.  You could also put a cold compress on the area, that will calm the inflammation and eases the blood flow to the affected area.

    Non-Inflammatory arthritis.

    Non-inflammatory arthritis is caused by mechanical factors or worsening changes in the joints.  Therefore, it is associated with the natural aging process, overuse of the joint, as in tennis elbow, or an injury.

    The onset tends to have a gradual beginning with the symptoms worsening slowly overtime.

    Symptoms of non-inflammatory arthritis include joint pain, stiffness, and a reduction of movement.  Also in the morning it will feel stiff for less than half an hour.

    Arthritis pain in shoulder

    The types of non-inflammatory arthritis are osteoarthritis.  which is the most common type.  It can affect any joint but is seen in weight-bearing joints like the knees, hips, and spine.

    Diagnosis could be that your doctor will send you for an x-ray that helps to see if the joint is deteriorating and loss of cartilage.

    Treatment for this include pain management, such as over-the-counter pain relievers, physical therapy, keeping your weight down, and in some cases there may be surgery like a joint replacement.

    I have osteoarthritis when I fell on an icy path, back in 1970s. Which left me with a right hip replacement.  But now the OA has affected my knees, other hip, and now neck and shoulders.

    Fact Four - Genetic Tendency:

    Some people are genetically inclined to develop certain types of arthritis.  For example, if a relative develops rheumatoid arthritis it could increase the risk of getting arthritis by 0.8% compared to those that have no family history.

    A study was done on identical twins, if one twin developed RA the risk is 12-15% chance that the other twin developed RA.


    Fact Five - Environmental Factors Matter:

    You should never start smoking.

    Research has found that environmental factors may play a significant role in developing arthritis.

    Such as the following factors:

    • Smoking is a well-known environmental factor that increases the risk of RA. People that smoke are more likely to develop inflammatory arthritis, and make the condition severe.
    • Obesity is a leading cause of osteoarthritis, eating high-sugar and high-fat diets can put more weight on you joints. Therefore, putting more pressure on the weight-bearing joints, such as your hips, knees.  Also, too much red meat and seafood can trigger gout.
    • Regular low-impact exercise is beneficial for most types of arthritis. As it strengthens the muscles around the joints and improve the flexibility. 
    • Exposure to the environmental toxins such as pesticides, solvents, and heavy metals.  Has been seen to link to increase risk of certain types of arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis.
    • The climate and weather can also play a role in arthritis symptoms.  I know with my osteoarthritis when the weather is cold, wet or high in humidity my pains are worse.
    • The last one is the stomach.  An imbalance in the stomach bacteria may trigger or worsen inflammatory arthritis by influencing the immune system.  The development of arthritis in the stomach is called ulcerated arthritis or irritable bowel disorders IBD ,which both are in the arthritis group.

    Fact Six - Arthritis is more than joint pain:

    Arthritis can affect more than just the joints.  It can lead to complications in organs and systems throughout the body, including the heart, lungs, and skin.

    The following list I shall show you the complicated nature of arthritis.

    • Inflammation and swelling – Rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. The inflammation can extend to the synovium, the lining of the joint, causing redness, warmth, and discomfort.
    • Stiffness and reduced range of motion – this can lead to stiffness in the joint affected, making it difficult to move.  It occurs after a period of rest and inactivity. It significantly impacts your ability to perform daily tasks.
    • Fatigue – is a common symptom of arthritis.  The pain and inflammation can be physically and emotionally draining, leading to persistent tiredness and exhaustion. Fatigue can hinder the overall well-being.
    Fatigue
    • Emotional and psychological impact – arthritis can take its toll on your mental health.  Living with chronic pain and limitation of movement can lead to anxiety, depression, and reduced quality of life.
    • Reduced quality of life – having arthritis it can affect every aspect of your life, from work, relationship, and leisure activities.
    • Complications beyond joints – certain types of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis, can affect the organs. Which can lead to complications such as cardiovascular issues like lung problems, or skin conditions.
    • Coping with chronic pain - Chronic pain management is a critical aspect of living with arthritis. You can often develop coping mechanisms, ranging from pain medications to physical therapy and mindfulness techniques, to deal with persistent discomfort.
    • The Role of Medications:  Various medications can be used to manage arthritis, including NSAIDs, DMARDs, biologics, and corticosteroids.

    BUT YOU MUST SEE YOUR DOCTOR FIRST BEFORE TRYING ANY OVER THE COUNTER MEDICATION.

    Fact Seven - Leading Cause of Disability.

    According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Arthritis is a significant contributor to disability worldwide. It ranks as the second leading cause of disability globally, affecting people's ability to achieve everyday tasks and keep their independence.

    Below is a list of key factors that contribute to arthritis-related disability.

    • Pain and stiffness – chronic pain and stiffness are the main symptoms of arthritis.  The symptoms can be severe making it difficult for you to do basic tasks such as walking, dressing, or even holding objects.
    • Reduced mobility – When you develop arthritis, you may find it difficult to move joints freely, which leads to decline in your physical abilities.
    • Limitations in function – arthritis can limit the ability to perform basic and complex functions.  Simple tasks like gripping a doorknob, getting out of a chair can become difficult.
    •  Impact on employment – arthritis-related disability can have a great impact on the ability to work.  You may find it difficult to do a job-related task.  Reducing the work hours, changes in career path, or early retirement.  Resulting in financial strain and dependence on disability benefits.
    • Emotional and psychological effects – chronic pain and disability can take a toll on your mental health.  Arthritis can lead to frustration, isolation, and depression.
    • Increased healthcare costs – having developed arthritis you may have ongoing medical care, medications, physical therapy, and assistive devices.  All these can soon accumulate, placing a significant financial burden on you.
    • Impact on society – your arthritis-related disability extends to your family and caregiving roles, that can impact on their own well-being and daily lives.

    Fact Eight - Arthritis and Its Unique Symptoms.

    Each type of arthritis has its own set of symptoms and diagnostic conditions.

    Arthritis includes a diverse range of disorders, each with its own set of symptoms that go beyond the pain in the joints.

    • Joint Swelling and Redness - Inflammatory types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, often has joint swelling and redness. This inflammation can lead to visible changes in the affected joints.
    • Joint Deformities – The progression of the joint damage that arthritis causes the joint can become deformed.  Deformation can manifest and become misalignment, crooked or even develop bony growth.
    Deformative due to psoriatic arthritis.
    • Morning stiffness – morning stiffness is when your joints have not moved for a long time, making it difficult to get out of bed. The stiffness could last for a long time.
    • Fatigue – chronic fatigue is common as it is related to the ongoing inflammation and pain that can lead to persistent tiredness that impacts on your ability to carry out tasks.
    • Skin lesions – in some cases such as psoriatic arthritis that occur in people with psoriasis, the symptoms are skin disorders that make the skin red, scaly patches.
    • Eye problems – types of arthritis like ankylosing spondylitis can affect the eyes, causing inflammation and discomfort.  The symptoms can range from mild irritation to more severe condition like uveitis.
    • Gastrointestinal symptoms – inflammatory arthritis can lead to gastrointestinal issues, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.  Both are forms of inflammatory bowel disease that can be associated with joint inflammation and arthritis-like symptoms.
    • Numbness and tingling – People with rheumatoid arthritis r systemic lupus erythematosus, may experience numbness and tingling due to nerve compression.
    • Reduced range of motion – Arthritis develops in your joint; therefore, your movement will become affected.  The limitation impacts the ability to perform activities that require joint flexibility like bending, reaching, holding items etc…
    • Cognitive impairment – Arthritis such as lupus, cognitive impairment can occur.  It could develop into memory problems, difficulty concentrating or even brain fog.
    • Systemic symptoms – rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune forms can affect the entire body.  The systemic symptoms can include a fever, weight loss and much more…

    Fact Nine - Arthritis, No Cure, but Manageable.

    While there is no cure for arthritis, it is vital that you manage the symptoms.  The correct strategies, treatment and if you adjust your lifestyle, you can lead an active fulfilling life.

    Some home remedies can include:

    A weekly box of medication.
  • Medication – can help control the pain and reduce the inflammation.
  • Physical therapy – has a vital role in managing the symptoms. As a physical therapist can design an exercise program just for your condition.
  • Lifestyle changes –
  •         This could be excessive weight, which can put extra weight on your weight bearing joints such as your hip and knees.
  •          Doing low impact exercise can help to keep your joints moving, such as walking, swimming, cycling etc…
  • Assistive devices – can help with daily tasks such as a walking stick, orthotic insoles and much more…
  • Heat and cold therapy – applying heat or cold packs to the affected joints can help reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Massage and acupuncture – these can relive muscle tension and pain.
  • Fact Ten - Weather can influence symptoms.

    The weather can influence arthritis symptoms.  Some people such as myself if it rains or it is high humidity my joints ache. 

    Also people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis find the if the temperature is cold, they can make the joints stiff, and muscle tendons contract which increases the discomfort in the joints.

    High humidity levels can make some people’s joints ache and stiff, this could be related to changes in atmospheric pressure.

    Little boy on a rainy day.

    Conclusion.

    In conclusion, arthritis is a widespread and varied group of chronic conditions that affect the joints, leading to pain, inflammation, and reduced mobility.

    Arthritis is a complex condition that requires a personalized approach to management.

    There are a group of people such as healthcare providers, researchers, and the broader community, that are working together to improve and understanding, the treatment, and support available for people living with arthritis.

    I hope this article has helped you. Please subscribe to my website, and I will keep you updated on new blogs. Also, if you need to know anything about arthritis, please go to my contact page and leave a message, and I will get back to you.

    In the meantime, if this post is informative, I would be very grateful if you would help your friends or family if they have a similar condition to tell them. So please share it on Twitter (X) or Facebook or send them an email.

    Don't forget to click on the button below for more facts about arthritis.

    I am not a medical professional, and this blog is for information only. If you have any worries, you should consult your doctor.

    I hope this blog has helped.

    https://foodwitharthitis.com

    More Information.

    https://www.nm.org/healthbeat/healthy-tips/things-you-should-know-about-arthritis

    https://www.ibji.com/blog/orthopedic-care/7-interesting-facts-about-arthritis/

    Linda Rook

    Linda is now retired and has suffered from Osteoarthritis for about 40+ years.  She struggled with her weight until she found the correct one that also helped with her arthritic pain.  Linda was in terrible pain until the physician thought her right hip needed replacement. 


    Now Linda has an artificial right hip, which has left her with the left leg shorter than the right.  Therefore, her spine is now wonky, and has arthritis of the lower back, also it seems to be going all over the body, her pain is now in the knees, elbow, wrist, fingers and both hips.


    Linda now spends her days writing information to help others with the same conditions, so they do not suffer like Linda.


    related posts:


    Natural Ways To Decrease Inflammation.


    What Supplements Are Good For Arthritis?


    Coping With Pregnancy and Chronic Illness.

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