The bad news is that World Arthritis Day has already come and gone for the year. But the good news for residents of Encino and elsewhere dealing with this painful condition, especially those receiving in-home care, is that there are still a lot of resources out there that can help all year round.
The official observation was Oct. 12 this year. It’s an annual opportunity to raise attention to how many people globally are dealing with arthritis or have loved ones that are.
The team at Accredited Home Care works with many clients dealing with different forms of arthritis. To some, the pain comes and goes. To others, it’s always present to some degree.
It ranges in intensity from minor aching to severe, burning pain that also can make one’s hands and fingers curl, making it difficult to enjoy quality of life. It makes it difficult to do much at all.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 54 million people have some form of arthritis, which works out about 23 percent of U.S. adults. As many as 60 percent of adults with arthritis are between ages 18 to 64.
It can affect the elderly too: the CDC reports that 29.3 percent between ages 45 and 64 have reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis, but in the 65-year-old and older group, 49.6 have reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis.
The Arthritis Foundation suggests that the number of people with this condition could even be higher: in a 2017 report, the foundation stated that as many as 92.1 million have doctor-diagnosed arthritis or arthritis symptoms. Foundation officials speculate that even more have it but may not be aware of their condition or don’t want to or are unable to see a doctor.
It is also ranked as a top cause of work-related disability and, between medical costs and lost earnings, arthritis can cost the country more than $303 billion annually. About 8 million working-age people with arthritis have said that their abilities to work can be limited after being diagnosed with arthritis.
There are a variety of types in different parts of the body, including gout, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and more.
So is there a way to keep from getting arthritis at all?
Currently, the CDC says no, since there haven’t been any firm discoveries into how and why arthritis can strike some people not others, and why some peoples’ symptoms are stronger than others.
What is known, however, that there is a variety of research taking place in reducing its impact and system-wide pain. There are occasionally talk of cures or at least medication to help manage the symptoms, but nothing widespread.
Some medical research focuses on reducing the inflammation first, which can cause pain and swelling. Others focus on reducing pain. Others look at ways to improve the body, so symptoms don’t show up.
Health experts suggest a good diet and regular exercise can help reduce pain and inflammation or cut down on the frequency of flare-ups due to arthritis. The current target for regular moderate exercise is 150 minutes a week.
All of these areas are good for general good and health and wellness as well, especially since improving conditions like obesity or stopping smoking have all been connected to better health all around.
A recommended diet can include nutrients such as Vitamin D, Omega 3 fatty acids, glucosamine sulfate, and curcumin, which is derived from the turmeric spice.
The CDC also offers a variety of similar strategies to reduce arthritis or reduce flare-ups. Along with the already-mentioned suggestions like more fitness, controlling weight, and a better lifestyle, the suggestions include putting together your own fitness plan and looking for ways to protect your joints, since these are often the parts of the body which can become especially swollen and painful. This could include different pads or braces for knees for elbows which can cushion them from heavy impact, especially if you are trying to up your exercise by walking, biking, or hiking.
The Arthritis Foundation suggests that one of the better ways to combat arthritis is to simply start talking about it through your various personal and professional networks. Creating awareness goes a long way, from encouraging people with these conditions to seek help and a diagnosis.
A recent poll showed that, of 2,000 adults surveyed, only 7 percent knew arthritis is the country’s leading cause of disability. As many as 85 percent in this group feel that arthritis needs greater public attention.
Generally, some of the preferred advice is to get medical professionals involved, including visiting your personal provider, the sooner or the better.
Because some types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can progressively grow more painful without treatment, it makes sense to get a diagnosis and begin a treatment plan. This may require some experimentation to find the right blend of medication and other solutions, but the sooner it begins, the sooner relief can be found.