For a disease that affects 50 million adults in the United States, or about 1 in 5 people, arthritis is remarkably misunderstood. Many people believe it’s a crippling and inevitable part of growing old. But things are changing. Treatments are better, and plenty of people age well without much arthritis.
People also tend to think of arthritis as a single disease. In fact, there are more than 100 different types of arthritis. And although they all affect joints, their causes and treatments can vary considerably.
If you have arthritis, you can take steps to protect your joints, reduce discomfort and improve mobility. Because describing your symptoms is so important for a correct diagnosis, it’s important to take note of the symptoms you experience. Then talk with your doctor to determine which kind of arthritis you have.
Get Rid of Arthritis Pain, Fatigue and Strong Joints
The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Other types include gout, pseudogout and infectious arthritis. There are several established medical therapies for each, as well as complementary treatments, such as acupuncture, chiropractic and massage.
Self-care, especially exercise, is also important. People with arthritis commonly discover that regular exercise not only helps maintain joint function but also relieves stiffness and decreases pain and fatigue. The key is having the energy to get moving.
Feeling tired may be partly the result of inflammation and medications, but it’s also caused by muscle weakness and poor stamina. If a muscle isn’t used, it can lose 3 percent of its function every day and 30 percent of its bulk in just a week.
A 2009 review article in Current Opinion in Rheumatology asserts that both aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercises are safe and effective for people with chronic arthritis. Below are brief summaries of different forms of structured exercise programs (most of which are offered by local Arthritis Foundation chapters) and their potential benefits. For more, or to locate a class near you, visit arthritis.org/resources/community-programs or call 800-283-7800. source