In general terms, arthritis refers to a disease that causes pain or stiffness in skeletal joints. Collectevely representing more than 100 types of arthritis, the term “arthritis” refers to a medical condition that affects more than 37 million Americans at any given time. Over and above the human toll imposed by arthritis (i.e., it partially disables 1.5 million Americans and completely disables another 1.5 million more), the cost of arthritis is substantial. The Arthritis Foundation states that disease has a cost that goes beyond pain. Medical care, lost wages, insurance, lost income taxes, homecare services, etc. Coservative estimates of the annual cost of arthritis place the total at approximately $15 billion per year.
Pain and cost notwithstanding, one of the most dismaying aspects of arthritis is the fact that no known cure exists for the disease. In some instances, the cause of arthritis is known. An injury to the joints, the result of an infection such as lyme disease, the byproduct of medication, etc. In other cases, physicians can only hypothesize about the causal factors. AGe is often cited as a leading cause. Almost half the cases of arthritis involves osteoarthritis. To date, however, no one has been able to identify why an individual”s joint wear out. Other noted cause of arthritis include food allergies, heredity, nervous system malfunction, and attack on the body”s immune system by unidentified microbes.
Whatever the cause, arthritis has seven basic major warning signals:
- Swelling in one or more joints
- Early morning stiffness
- Recurring joint pain or tenderness
- Lack of normal range of motion in joint
- Obvious redness and warmth in a joint
- Unexplained substantial weight loss
- Fever or weakness in conjunction with joint pain
And any symptoms similar to the afore mentioned for more than two weeks. Once the onset of arthritis has been identified, a key question that every arthritis sufferer must address is: What can be done to treat or control this painful condition?
While physicians exhibit some degree of diversity in their approach to arthritis treatment, many firmly ascribe to the belief that regular exercise is an essential part of any arthritis treatment prescription. This proactive philosophy in direct contradiction to the traditionally held myth that people with arthritis should avoid exercise because of pain and possible joint damage. Unfortunately, doctors used to advise to their patients to get plenty of rest (up to 12 hours a day). Over time, the medical community has come to realize that too much rest ultimately makes arthritis symptoms worse, not better.
As we discussed before about aging strong, the effects of a sedentary lifestyle on arthritis sufferers can be substantial. Their joints stiffen up and become more painful. Thei muscles become weaker. They lose stamina. Eventually, the ability to go about even the most basic activities of daily life diminishes, causing some of life”s most fundamental tasks to turn into exhausting chores. In addition, and this is even more important, as people lose the ability to perform simple everyday tasks, they also tend to lose some self worth. Leading to depression, hopelessness, fear and more.
The good news is that exercise can really help individuals suffering from arthritis. Numerous studies have been conducted in the last decade, which show that properly execute exercise routines can have several benefits fir arthritis sufferers. For example, medically sound exercise can improve strength, build stamina and increase the capacity of joints to move freely though a full range of motion with less pain and swelling. Proper exercise also enables some arthritis sufferers to reduce their intake of anti-inflammatory drugs. Finally, exercise can also have a positive effect on the mindset of individuals who have arthritis. By providing renewed levels of energy and sense of hope and control over their condition, exercise can help diminish and put to rest feelings of fatigue and hopelessness.
The value of exercise is not limited to one specific type of arthritis or to any one particular age group. For arthritis sufferers, exercise helps them understand the importance of physical activity to improve day to day performance. If you keep moving your body won”t become obsolete, is that simple. No matter what people say. I know usage pays a toll on our bodies but lack of use pays a bigger one… it”s time to start moving and beat arthritis in its own game.
Surgeon’s Advice | Leon Mead MD Orthopedic Doctor | 730 Goodlette Road North, Suite 201 Naples Florida 34102 | Phone: (239) 262-1119