Arthritis Awareness Month: Know the Signs

May 9, 2019

May is recognized each year as National Arthritis Awareness Month. Arthritis impacts more than 50 million Americans, making it the number one cause of disability in the country. Arthritis is often times chronic and can make even the most normal daily tasks painful. Thankfully, technology and scientific research are evolving more each day to conquer arthritis. It’s helpful to catch arthritis early and pay attention to any abnormalities or unusual changes to your body.

In light of National Arthritis Awareness Month, here a few ways you can identify arthritis and seek help to return to the normal routines of your daily life.

Early symptoms of arthritis

If you experience joint pain, loss of motion, fatigue, joint swelling, joint redness or similar symptoms, you might be experiencing arthritis. The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Both types impact your joints, but they cause damage in different ways. Osteoarthritis causes wear-and-tear to your joint’s cartilage, while rheumatoid arthritis manifests when your immune system attacks your body’s synovial membrane, a connective tissue that lines the inner surface of capsules of synovial joints. Over time, both of these types of arthritis, along with many other types, can progress if they are not properly addressed by a physician.

Risk factors associated with Arthritis

There are various risk factors associated with arthritis. A few most commonly known include:

  • Family history. There are some types of arthritis that run in families. You may be more prone to develop arthritis if your parents or siblings have been affected.
  • Obesity. Carrying around excess weight puts stress on your body’s joints. You might notice joint pain particularly in your knees, hips and spine.
  • Age. As you get older, you have a higher chance of developing arthritis.
  • Your sex. Women are more likely than men to develop rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Previous injury. If you have previously injured a joint, you are more likely to develop arthritis at the point of injury. This is a common occurrence in athletes.

Arthritis treatment

Arthritis treatment looks different for everyone. You may need to try a couple of different treatment methods to find what works best for you. There are various medications your doctor can recommend to help ease pain from arthritis. Physical therapy may also be a helpful option to help relieve joint pain and regain joint flexibility. Surgery may also be recommended in some cases, depending on the severity of your condition.

If you have questions about arthritis or would like to discuss more with a physician, schedule an appointment at Campbell Clinic today.


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