Arthritis: What it is and How You Can Deal With It

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Chronic illnesses are a type of illness that lasts for a long time. It mainly occurs when there is a problem with how the body functions. Chronic illness can make it hard for a person to do daily activities. It can also lead to other health problems.

Many chronic illnesses plague American adults. First, the most common is hypertension. Then, there is high cholesterol, which many people attribute to hypertension, but it’s not. Lastly, the third most common is arthritis, affecting 31% of adults and most older adults in the country.

Arthritis is a more complex chronic illness than the two that come before it. Here’s what you need to know about this disease.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a disease of the joints. It can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling. It can make it hard to move and do everyday tasks. There are different types of arthritis. The most common type is osteoarthritis. Other types include rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and fibromyalgia.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It happens when the cartilage in your joints breaks down. Cartilage is the tissue that cushions your bones at the joints. When it breaks down, it can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness.

A severe symptom of osteoarthritis is a joint deformity. It happens when the cartilage breaks down so much that the bones start to rub against each other. It can cause the joints to become misshapen.

A woman experiencing all sorts of body pain

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. People who have this disease have their immune system attack healthy cells by mistake. It usually affects the joints in your hands and feet. But it can also affect other body parts, like your skin, eyes, and lungs.

People with rheumatoid arthritis often have fatigue, fever, and weight loss. They may also have joints that are warm to the touch, and feel stiff in the morning.

Gout

Gout is a type of arthritis that happens when there is too much uric acid in the body. Uric acid is a waste product made when the body breaks down purines. Purines are found in some foods, like steak and liver. They are also found in beer and other alcoholic drinks.

People with gout often have sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness, and warmth in their joints. The most common joint affected is the big toe.

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder that causes pain all over the body. People with this disease also have fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood changes.

There is no cure for arthritis. But living with it is possible. Here are ways to manage your arthritis to help you live a normal life.

Get Your Benefits!

You should first consider getting your government-related benefits if you’ve been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. People with rheumatoid arthritis can get disability benefits, including Social Security and Medicare. Other benefits include help with transportation and housing. The severe forms of gout, osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia can also have these kinds of benefits.

Take Medications

The next thing you should do is talk to your doctor about medications. Many different types of medicines can help with arthritis. Some of these medications can help reduce pain and swelling. Others can help slow down the progression of the disease.

Your doctor will likely prescribe a combination of different medications. They will also likely suggest over-the-counter (OTC) medications, like ibuprofen or aspirin. Be sure to take these exactly as directed by your doctor.

Get Exercise

Exercise is vital for people with arthritis. It can help reduce pain and stiffness. It can also help improve your range of motion and strengthen the muscles around your joints.

The best exercises for people with arthritis are low-impact exercises. These include walking, swimming, and biking. You should start slowly and build up your endurance over time.

Change Your Diet

Changing your diet is essential, especially if you have gout. Foods that are high in purines can make gout worse. So you should avoid these foods, including steak, liver, and beer. You should also avoid sugary drinks like soda.

Losing weight can also help reduce the symptoms of arthritis. If you are overweight, losing even a few pounds can help reduce the amount of stress on your joints.

Talk to Your Doctor

If you think you might have arthritis, the best thing to do is to talk to your doctor. They will be able to give you a diagnosis and create a treatment plan that is right for you.

Arthritis is a condition that affects many people all over the world. There are different types of arthritis, and each one has its own set of symptoms. However, there are ways to manage your arthritis and live a normal life. By following these tips, you can live a better life, despite having arthritis.

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