Generations ago people had what they called rheumatism or arthritis. Sadly it was not considered that serious. Many pushed through their pain and worked as long as they could, trying not to complain. Others thought of them as just having a few aches and pains associated with aging.
As science has found through the years, arthritis is a very serious disease. It is the combination of the Greek words (arth), meaning joint and (it-is) meaning inflammation. When a person has arthritis the joints and surrounding tissues become inflamed. Even the muscles or tendons will become inflamed. Arthritis and those related to arthritis are known as rheumatic diseases. They can all cause redness, swelling, pain, and be hot to the touch as the inflammation flares.
Many forms of arthritis are more serious than people realize. Myself , for instance. I am afflicted with psoriatic arthritis and diagnosed in my early 30’s. At times, this type can attack the internal organs. I have been using oxygen for about 7 years now. I am now 62 and have had 5 joint surgeries so far.
The serious forms are also called autoimmune diseases. That is because the immune system malfunctions. That is our bodies defense against all diseases. When one is diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid, or lupus, naming only a few, the disease fighting components have turned against the body.
With some forms of arthritis, one can still enjoy their life. Others however, will continue to get worse as the bones and joints continue to be damaged by the arthritis. There is no cure for arthritis and no one really knows why it develops. New research is trying to bring to light the whys and possible treatments and lifestyle changes that may delay some of the damage.
Each form of arthritis is different with its own set of symptoms. Most common symptoms are pain in and around the joints, swelling, stiffness, depression, sleeplessness, and fatigue. These vary with each person.
Arthritis Myths: This is just another term for the aches and pains you can get as you grow older.
Arthritis is not a serious health problem. (In truth, it is the most common health problem in the United States and the leading cause of disability.)
You can’t do much about the pain associated with arthritis. (Seeing a doctor specializing in Rheumatology can help to control the pain.)
Taking control of your lifestyle can help you manage your condition.
Be patient, while persistent in order to get the proper diagnosis and treatment.
Try to lose any extra pounds if you are overweight.
Do not drink alcohol. Your overall health will eventually go down.
Alcohol can also cause side effects with the medication you are given.
Ask your doctor about muscle strengthening exercises. Stronger muscles help to support damaged joints.
Having the right lifestyle habits is the key to help manage any disease you nay have.
Physical therapist will help you learn new ways to perform daily activities that will protect your joints, helping to reduce more damage, swelling and pain.
In order to be successful in self-management, it is important to have a good relationship with your doctor, and others involved in your care.
It doesn’t matter what form of arthritis you have or how much damage you have, taking control of your care is the main way to stay on top of this disease. Also, good communication with your physicians will help you to be successful in living a good life while having arthritis. At times you will still have pain and damage, but there are new medications and techniques out there that were not available 20 years ago. Being in control is the key to making it through most of our problems in life. Take part in making the decisions that need to be made.
Source: Tips for Good Living with Arthritis – Arthritis Foundation