Arthritis is one of the most widespread health conditions in the United States. It affects about one in four adults overall. That’s over 58 million men and women. To recognize this toll on Americans’ health, CDC, the Arthritis Foundation and other partners observe Arthritis Awareness Month in May.
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Arthritis means inflammation or swelling of one or more joints. It describes more than 100 conditions that affect the joints, tissues around the joint, and other connective tissues. Specific symptoms vary depending on the type of arthritis, but usually include joint pain and stiffness.
- Osteoarthritis: the most common form of arthritis. Some people call it degenerative joint disease or “wear and tear” arthritis. It occurs most frequently in the hands, hips, and knees. With OA, the cartilage within a joint begins to break down and the underlying bone begins to change. These changes usually develop slowly and get worse over time. OA can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling. In some cases it also causes reduced function and disability; some people are no longer able to do daily tasks or work.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease, which means that your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake, causing inflammation (painful swelling) in the affected parts of the body. RA mainly attacks the joints, usually many joints at once. RA commonly affects joints in the hands, wrists, and knees. In a joint with RA, the lining of the joint becomes inflamed, causing damage to joint tissue. This tissue damage can cause long-lasting or chronic pain, unsteadiness (lack of balance), and deformity (misshapenness). RA can also affect other parts of the body and cause problems in organs such as the lungs, heart, and eyes.
- Gout: Gout is a common form of inflammatory arthritis that is very painful. It usually affects one joint at a time (often the big toe joint). There are times when symptoms get worse, known as flares, and times when there are no symptoms, known as remission. Repeated bouts of gout can lead to gouty arthritis, a worsening form of arthritis. There is no cure for gout, but you can effectively treat and manage the condition with medication and self-management strategies.
- Fibromyalgia: is a condition that causes pain all over the body, also called widespread pain. Fibromyalgia also causes sleep problems, fatigue, and emotional and mental distress. People with fibromyalgia may be more sensitive to pain than people without fibromyalgia. This is called abnormal pain perception processing. Fibromyalgia affects about 4 million US adults, about 2% of the adult population. The cause of fibromyalgia is not known, but it can be effectively treated and managed.
- Childhood Arthritis: Arthritis in children is called childhood arthritis or juvenile arthritis. The most common type of childhood arthritis is juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), also known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Childhood arthritis can cause permanent physical damage to joints. This damage can make it hard for the child to do everyday things like walking or dressing and going to school, and can result in disability.
Credit from https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/types/index.html
Fast Facts About Arthritis
Arthritis is a general term for conditions that affect the joints, tissues around the joint, and other connective tissues. Here are more fast facts about arthritis:
General Arthritis Facts
- There are more than 100 types of arthritis.
- Specific symptoms vary depending on the type of arthritis, but usually include joint pain and stiffness.
- Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It occurs most frequently in the hands, hips, and knees.
- Experts don’t know the causes of many forms of arthritis.
- Certain risk factors make it more likely that you will develop arthritis.
- An estimated 58.5 million US adults have arthritis. Experts believe that number will grow as our nation’s population gets older.
- Arthritis is a leading cause of work disability among US adults.
- An estimated 25.7 million adults are limited in their usual activities because of arthritis. That number is expected to grow to 35 million by 2040.
- Arthritis is common among people with other chronic conditions including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Treating and Managing Arthritis
- There is no cure for arthritis, but it can be treated and managed.
- Treatments include medication, non-drug therapies such as physical therapy or patient education, and sometimes surgery.
- Managing arthritis symptoms is important to reduce pain, prevent or delay disability, and improve overall quality of life.
- CDC’s Arthritis Program recognizes 5 ways to manage arthritis and its symptoms: learn new self-management skills, be active, talk to your doctor, manage your weight, and protect your joints.
- Physical activity programs and self-management education programs teach adults with arthritis how to manage their arthritis symptoms and other related challenges.
5 Ways to Manage Arthritis
There are a lot of things you can do to manage your arthritis. The day-to-day things you choose to do to manage your condition and stay healthy are “self-management” strategies and activities. CDC’s Arthritis Program recognizes five self-management strategies for managing arthritis and its symptoms.
Practice these simple strategies to reduce symptoms and get relief so you can pursue the activities that are important to you. These strategies can even help you manage other chronic conditions you have.
Managing Arthritis: Strive for Five
- Learn new self-management skills.
- Be active.
- Talk to your doctor.
- Manage your weight.
- Protect your joints.
Arthritis is common; in fact, about 1 in 4 US adults have arthritis. Some behaviors and characteristics, called risk factors, increase an adult’s likelihood of getting some types of arthritis or making it worse. You can control some risk factors, and others you cannot. You can decrease your risk of getting arthritis or making arthritis worse by changing the risk factors you can control.
Learn about known risk factors and what you can do to lower your risk of developing arthritis.
Risk Factors You Can Control
Modifiable risk factors are risk factors that you can control. Making lifestyle changes can decrease your risk of getting some types of arthritis or making arthritis worse. Extra weight puts more stress on joints.
Overweight and Obesity: People who are overweight or obese are more likely to get knee osteoarthritis than people who are not overweight. Excess weight can also make knee osteoarthritis worse. Extra weight puts more stress on joints, particularly weight-bearing joints like the hips and knees.
- What you can do: Maintain a healthy weight. Healthy eating and physical activity can help you lose weight and stay at a healthy weight. Learn how you can eat healthy and safely exercise with arthritis.
Infection: Many microbial agents, like bacteria and viruses, can infect joints and potentially cause the development of some types of arthritis.
- What you can do: See your doctor right away if your joints are swollen, warm, or red. It might be an infection.
Joint Injuries: Joint injury or overuse such as knee bending and repetitive stress can damage a joint and contribute to the development of osteoarthritis in that joint.
- What you can do: Protect your joints from injuries by doing special exercises for those joints. Visit the OA Action Alliance website for exercises to prevent knee injuriesexternal icon.
Occupation: Occupations that involve repetitive knee bending and squatting are associated with osteoarthritis of the knee.
- What you can do: Make sure your worksite is free of fall hazards and has the space, equipment, and tools that fit your physical ability and limitations. Learn about ergonomics and musculoskeletal disorders from CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
Smoking: Cigarette smoking increases a person’s risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and can make the disease worse. It can also cause other medical problems. Smoking can also make it more difficult to stay physically active, which is an important part of managing RA and other types of arthritis.
- What you can do: Stop smoking. Get help by visiting I’m Ready to Quit on CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers website.
Risk Factors You Cannot Control
Your risk for most types of arthritis increases as you get older. Non-modifiable risk factors are risk factors that you cannot control. These include:
- Age: Your risk for most types of arthritis increases as you get older.
- Gender: Most types of arthritis are more common in women, including osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and fibromyalgia. Gout is more common in men. Experts don’t know exactly why women are at higher risk for developing most types of arthritis, or why men are at higher risk for developing gout.
- Genetics and Inherited Traits: People born with specific genes are more likely to develop certain types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and ankylosing spondylitis. These genes are called HLA (human leukocyte antigen) class II genotypes. These genes can also make your arthritis worse. Experts do not know why people with these genes are at higher risk for developing arthritis or why it can make their arthritis worse.
FAQs about Arthritis
Arthritis affects 58.5 million US adults, about 1 in 4. Children can also get arthritis. Learn more about arthritis and how you can manage it.
- What is arthritis?
- What are the most common types of arthritis?
- What are the symptoms of arthritis?
- What causes arthritis?
- Am I at risk for arthritis?
- Are people with arthritis more likely to develop complications from the flu?
- How many adults in the United States have arthritis?
- Can children get arthritis?
- Can I prevent arthritis?
Treating and Managing Arthritis
- How is arthritis treated?
- What can I do to manage my arthritis?
- Can I exercise with arthritis?
- What should I do if I have pain when I exercise?
- Does being overweight affect arthritis?
Credit from https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/faqs.htm
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