According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, arthritis includes more than 100 rheumatic diseases and conditions that affect the joints and tissues that surround the joints.
Rheumatic conditions are classified by the pain and stiffness around one or more joints. Inflamed joints are red, swollen, and tender. According to the CDC, the most common form of arthritis is known as osteoarthritis, where the cartilage and bones within a joint start to break down. Osteoarthritis develops slowly and worsens over time.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis may include:
• Aching or pain
• Less range of motion
• Stiffness; and
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune inflammatory disease. Inflammation occurs in many parts of the body as a result of the immune system attacking healthy cells. Many joints are attacked simultaneously and begin to inflame right away, resulting in long-term chronic pain. The CDC states that besides RA affecting the joints, it can also affect other parts of the body such as the lung, heart, and eyes.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis may include:
• Ache or pain in more than one joint
• Stiffness in more than one joint
• Swollen joints; and
• Weight loss
Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that can affect the muscles and soft tissues of the body. It can occur on its own or in conjunction with other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia may include:
• Widespread muscle pain
• Tender areas
• Confusion, memory lapses, and trouble concentrating
Other types of arthritis include:
• Gout; and
• Childhood or juvenile arthritis
Non-modifiable risk factors for arthritis include age, gender, and genetics.
Modifiable risk factors include obesity or being overweight, infection, joint injuries, and occupation.
According to the CDC, treatments for arthritis may include:
• Physical or occupational therapy
• Splints or joint assistive aids
• Weight loss; and
Furthermore, physical activity is strongly recommended for people with arthritis. According to the CDC, physical activity can reduce pain and improve function and mood for adults with many types of arthritis. Physical activity can even delay the onset of disability. Cardio and muscle strengthening activities are recommended and have been proven to work well. As long as the activity does not twist the joints too much, being active can help arthritis. Speak to a health care professional regarding what activities may be right for you.