Arthritis: Prevalence and Prevention
Arthritis is a common medical diagnosis. In fact, it’s so common that 58.5 million people in the United States have doctor-diagnosed arthritis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s 24% of all US adults, nearly 1 in 4 adults to be exact.
Of that 58.5 million adults, about 23.7 million report that their arthritis limits their normal everyday activities. Over time, experts estimate those numbers will increase and approximately 78.4 million adults will have doctor-diagnosed arthritis by the year 2040, with 34.6 million adults reporting activity limitations due to arthritis.
Arthritis Based On Age, Gender, Health, and Physical Activity
Arthritis is a debilitating condition with long-lasting effects. What makes a person susceptible to developing arthritis? Why is arthritis so prevalent? Is arthritis preventable? Let’s look at the CDC statistics divided into categories.
Age - “More than half of US adults (57.3%) with arthritis are of working age (18 to 64 years)”
Gender - “Arthritis is more common in women (23.5%) compared with men (18.1%)”
Health - Arthritis is “more common among adults with fair/poor health (40.5%) compared with those who have excellent/very good health (15.4%)”
Physical Activity - Arthritis is “less common among adults who meet physical activity recommendations (18.1%) compared with adults who are insufficiently active or inactive (23.1% and 23.6%, respectively)”
And to make matters worse, the CDC further states that arthritis is listed as a leading cause of work disability, totalling $303.5 billion in annual costs for medical care as well as lost earnings.
Types of Arthritis
Arthritis comes in different forms. If you suspect you have arthritis, it is critically important that you work with a healthcare professional to identify the specific type of arthritis. Treatment options vary based on the kind of arthritis you have, and receiving a correct diagnosis leads to receiving proper medical care.
Arthritis that develops due to a degenerative joint disease is not the same as arthritis caused by an autoimmune disease or inflammatory disease. The most common kinds of arthritis include:
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
Psoriatic arthritis (PsA)
Arthritis also goes hand-in-hand with other diseases, such as lupus. Lupus is not considered a technical form of arthritis, but an individual with lupus can develop arthritis. Fibromyalgia is another disease where patients can experience joint pain and stiffness, but it is not arthritis in and of itself.
Once again, this is why a correct diagnosis is of key importance. Your arthritis or arthritis-like symptoms could be connected to a diagnosis that requires specific treatments. To properly treat arthritis, you need to pinpoint the underlying cause.
How To Reduce Your Risk of Developing Arthritis
What is the main cause of arthritis? Who is most likely to get arthritis? Can you prevent getting arthritis? These questions are difficult to answer and the truth of the matter is, arthritis is not 100% preventable.
You can have arthritis that is brought on by a metabolic condition (like gout) or an immune system dysfunction (like rheumatoid arthritis) or joint degeneration (like osteoarthritis) … and unfortunately, you won’t find some sort of guaranteed solution that ensures you will never develop arthritis.
But on the other hand, there are several ways to reduce your risk of developing arthritis and other related conditions.
Weight Management - Since extra weight puts increased pressure on your joints, strive to maintain a healthy weight.
Vitamins - Take vitamin supplements, especially if you have a known deficiency.
Exercise - Nothing can replace the health benefits that come from regular physical activity.
Lifestyle Choices - If you smoke, use tobacco products, or drink alcohol, consider quitting.
Joint Protection - Avoid activities that are hard on your joints.
Triggers - Be aware of what can trigger an arthritis flare-up.
Professional Help - Do not delay seeking the help and guidance of a healthcare professional, particularly if you are experiencing worrisome or problematic symptoms.
The more measures you take to improve your overall health, the better off you will be. You can never go wrong with making deliberate choices to take control of your health.
Here at Paducah Rheumatology, we don’t want to see your life suffer due to arthritis. Our goal is to improve your quality of life by providing personalized treatment plans designed to meet your specific needs.
If you are experiencing arthritis or arthritis-like symptoms, we want to see you! Send in a physician’s referral and give us a call today at 270-408-6100 to set up an appointment.