No one wakes up with arthritis over night. Often, the symptoms of arthritis gradually set into our joints over a long period of time and all vary in terms of its causes. In truth, about 54.4 million people in the United States have arthritis, which is equal to around 22.7 percent of the overall population.
With this in mind, we at Family Medical Center want to bring to light to this condition by observing Arthritis Awareness Month this May, and if you suffer from this particular condition, Family Medical Center can help you.
What is Arthritis?
One major misconception is that arthritis is “an old person’s disease” and is related to osteoarthritis. In reality, there are two different types of arthritis that exist that happen due to different causes. For instance:
1. Osteoarthritis usually occurs due to wear-and-tear damage affecting the cartilage in your joints.
2. Rheumatoid arthritis happens when the body’s immune system attacks the tough lining surrounding every joint in the body.
Because arthritis affects so many throughout the world, awareness and education about this condition is important.
Who is at Risk?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are risk factors you can and cannot control. You can decrease your risk of getting arthritis by focusing on the factors you can control by altering your lifestyle habits.
Risk Factors You Can Control:
1. Overweight / Obesity – About 36.5 percent of adults are obese in the United States, and about 32.5 percent are overweight. One commonality both have is the strain weight can have on your body–more specifically, the weight and stress on the knees.
What You Can Do – Maintaining your weight by eating healthy and engaging in daily physical activity is a great way to reduce not only the pressure placed on your joints, but the inflammation caused by osteoarthritis as well.
2. Occupation – For some, their occupation can be the main cause of their arthritis. Due to repetitive strain on the knees from picking up objects or from squatting, it can become a significant cause for arthritis.
What You Can Do – Observe your job space and note any fall hazards. You can also make sure that your equipment, tools, and forms of support are usable and adequate for your ability and limitations.
3. Smoking Habits – Cigarette smoking is harmful to our bodies in numerous ways. Starting from our lungs, to our skin, and eventually our bloodstream, smoking in particular increases your chance of getting rheumatoid arthritis.
What You Can Do – While it may seem like an uphill battle, you can quit smoking. Fortunately, there are various resources and support groups you can join that can help. Quitting smoking dramatically aids your respiratory and cardiovascular health, and it also can lessen disease activity caused by rheumatoid arthritis.
3 Ways You Can Observe National Arthritis Month
1. Participate in Annual Walks/Runs Near You
The Arthritis Foundation sponsors events every year in various communities around the country annually. They currently have 2021 events posted, and you can find more information on these events here.
2. Attend Conferences/ Meetings Regarding Arthritis Research
If you would like to learn more about arthritis and stay current with the research behind it, this is a good option for you. Most importantly, you can take back what you learn and share with your family and friends.
3. Spreading Awareness Through Social Media
Social media is a powerful tool anyone can use to spread awareness on any issue. Noting this, you have the power to share stories and facts about arthritis from reputable sources so that you, your family, and your community can learn more.
With your health and happiness at the forefront of our work, we at Family Medical Center acknowledge Arthritis Awareness Month. If you or a loved one wants to learn more about arthritis–or suffers from it–we are here to help you with any questions or concerns.