Do you have an older family member who swears they can “feel it in their bones” that inclement weather is just around the corner? While you might be tempted to write this off as an old wives’ tale, some studies have suggested that an arthritic flare can be linked to extreme dips in temperature or an oncoming rain shower. Arthritis is an incredibly common condition with more than 3 million cases per year in the US alone.
The fact that it is so common, and so many people live with it, can make it easy to underappreciate how difficult living with arthritis can be. While it can be managed, there is no cure for it, and the condition typically worsens as you grow older.
Not all diagnoses are the same. In fact, there are different types of arthritis, and the treatment recommended will hinge upon the specific diagnosis. Since there is no cure for this condition, treatment options come with the goal of improving or maintaining quality of life by trying to reduce the severity of symptoms.
The two most prevalent types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Of the two, osteoarthritis is the most common form. This condition occurs with the deterioration of the tissue that covers the ends of a bone that form a joint. As the cartilage wears away, the higher the risk of bone grinding against bone, resulting in pain and restricted movement. This process can be slow, many years in the making, or rapid, following an injury or infection.
Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disorder, wherein joint linings (called the synovial membrane) are targeted. As the disease progresses, the linings become inflamed, leaving the cartilage and the joint bones vulnerable.
Signs and symptoms of arthritis are most commonly found in the joints, but can vary depending on the type you have. Symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic, may include:
- Decreased range of motion
So, who gets arthritis? While it is more common in people 40 and older, it doesn’t discriminate on age. Children as young as two years old can have arthritic symptoms. That said, there are certain risk factors that, if applicable, increase the likelihood of a diagnosis. These include:
- Family history—As with many conditions, having arthritis in the family can put you at risk for contracting the condition, yourself.
- Age—While, as we said above, arthritis can occur at any age, your odds of receiving a diagnosis increase as you get older.
- Sex—Rheumatoid arthritis is more commonly seen in women.
- Joint Injury—If you injure a joint, you increase the odds of the joint developing arthritis.
- Obesity—With added weight on the knees, hips, and spine, those who are obese increase their risk.
There are many ways to live with arthritis, and if you need help, reach out to Advanced Family Medicine. We can provide relief through joint injections, which provide three to four months of relief. To determine if this is the right move for you, schedule an appointment. We will factor in your overall health, including additional medications, to make sure you are a good candidate.
Another form of relief is Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT). This treatment involves the physical manipulation of muscles and joints, administered by an osteopathic physician, to treat structural or tissue abnormalities.
Arthritis might slow you down, but with treatment and care, it doesn’t have to stop you from moving. Call Advanced Family Medicine with any questions you have about arthritis, and how we might be able to help you maintain or improve your quality of life.