There’s a lot that many of today’s seniors have in common, but at least one is what a lot of residents of Arcadia and elsewhere wish they didn’t share: arthritis.
Depending on the person and their particular medical condition at any point in time, such as those receiving 24-hour care, lower-level arthritis can take the form of an occasionally mild ache or a twinge now and then as different muscles in the body become inflamed. Or more severe inflammation could lead to strong, severe, burning, even disabling pain in one area or through the whole body, as well as fatigue and a wish to not really get up and move around.
The team at Accredited Home Care works with many clients who are trying to manage different types of arthritis in their lives. Some of our staff also deal with it. While having this condition can help create empathy and a connection between staff and clients, it can lead to some long, possibly painful days.
If you aren’t familiar with arthritis beyond the basics, there’s a lot to know about what it is and what it can do to the body. There’s a lot of research and fund-raising going on, as well as some different medications that work well for some but not for others.
At its very basic, arthritis is an inflammation of joints and sometimes the area around a joint, such as muscle and bone. It can affect anyone and any joint, including hips, knees, and elbows. Besides the pain, the affected areas may be warm to the touch, swollen, or tender.
According to the University of Washington’s Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, more than 50 million Americans have some form of arthritis from the occasional flare-up to regular ongoing pain several times through the day. This works out to about 1 in 7 people. It is also common for the signs of arthritis to begin to show between age 40 and age 60, and about three times more women than men can suffer from it.
Arthritis is also a problem worldwide, not just in the U.S.
A 2017 article from the U.S. National of Medicine showed that there are higher rates of arthritis in countries where there’s a higher amount of social and economic challenges. Russia was at the top of the list for the highest number of people with arthritis.
Types of arthritis
How many types of arthritis are out there? This is actually an interesting question for people who are trying to find answers. The University of Washington said that there are actually 100 types of arthritis out there.
Although there are many variations, the more common ones are less similar.
The most familiar to many and most common is rheumatoid arthritis. which is caused by the inflammation of the membrane that surrounds the affected joint.
Rheumatoid arthritis, experienced by about 2 million people, can cause burning, pain, fatigue, and stiffening. In some cases, it may be severe enough to cause numbness and feelings of extreme cold.
The condition, also abbreviated to RA, may start with pain early in the morning, which wears off. It may return in the afternoon and wear off later.
This type of arthritis doesn’t necessarily have a cure, such as medication that will knock it out completely. But there are some medications that can reduce the pain and cut down on inflammation and other symptoms.
Rheumatoid arthritis also is known for showing up in many joints throughout the body, not just one or two areas with other common arthritis types.
About 1 in 10 people with RA will have one flare-up. But others will have them more regularly.
The most common type is osteoarthritis, and more than 27 million people are dealing with it.
Osteoarthritis takes place when the cartilage in some of the joints in the body wears away over time or due to pressure. This causes the bones to rub together, a situation that causes pain and even more discomfort and inflammation. Too much of this pain over time can lead to damage to the bones and the possibility of the creation of bone spurs, another painful condition.
This type of arthritis is also connected to other symptoms or negative health conditions in the rest of the body, such as types of dry eyes or “nodules” under the skin near affected areas. It can also lead to fatigue, breathing problems, and numbness in different areas of the body.
Because arthritis is so common, most health providers are familiar with it so they’ll be happy to talk to you about different options that can help your life. There are several tests that can be taken to identify which type of arthritis you may be dealing with or how severe it can be.
Your provider also might be able to give you info about current research and medications that may help.
There’s also more info available at the official site for Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Day, which is traditionally Feb. 2.