National Arthritis Awareness Month

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 2:26 PM CDT
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May is National Arthritis Awareness Month, and experts want you to know the signs and symptoms and when to seek care.

News Release- More than 58 million men, women and children in the United States experience daily aches and pains, often severe, associated with arthritis; that’s one in four people. It is also the number one cause of disability in the country, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

Joint inflammation associated with arthritis causes plaque build-up in the arteries, which slowly narrows blood vessels and blocks blood flow. For these reasons, Dr. P. Matt Kamien, Prevea Health orthopedic surgeon, says arthritis makes it harder to manage other health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

“Activity is the best way to keep arthritis at bay,” says Dr. Kamien. “Movement helps maintain and improve strength, flexibility and endurance which keeps muscles and joints healthy and keeps blood flowing freely.”

Walking is one of the most beneficial ways to improve pain, fatigue, stiffness and swelling of the joints associated with arthritis. It can improve function by about 40%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of bones wears down over time. It typically affects the joints in hands, knees, hips, and the spine.

Other forms of arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis, which causes pain, swelling and loss of function in your joints; gout, characterized by sudden and severe swelling and redness in joints - most often in the big toe - caused by excess uric acid in the body; and fibromyalgia, which causes overall body pain, sleep difficulty and sometimes emotional distress.

Treatment for arthritis varies depending on the type, severity and overall health of each person.

Dr. Kamien recommends talking with your primary care provider if concerns about arthritis arise or if you begin to have difficulty or pain performing everyday tasks.

More information about arthritis can be found on the arthritis page of the CDC website.

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