All About Arthritis
Did you know that there are more than 100 types of arthritis? Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in America with more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children afflicted. People of all genders, races and ages can be afflicted, but it is most common among women and aging adults.
Arthritis causes inflammation in your joints, bones and ligaments, but in some cases can also affect your skin, muscles and organs, such as the heart, kidney and lungs. Common symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion and can range from mild to severe. Symptoms may also come and go or remain the same for years before worsening over time.
Severe affliction can inhibit one’s ability to do daily activities, such as walking or climbing the stairs. This includes permanent joint damage, including visible damage such as knobby finger joints.
Types of Arthritis
With over 100 types of arthritis, it is always best to talk to your doctor regarding any joint or muscle pain. However, there are three main types of arthritis that most sufferers are afflicted with:
Osteoarthritis (OA) afflicts more people than any other condition. Known as the “wear and tear” arthritis, it’s caused when your joints are overused and happens with age, injury or obesity, which all put extra stress on joints.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease, meaning that the immune system attacks parts of the body and in this case, the joints. As a result, this causes inflammation, which can lead to severe joint damage if not treated. Approximately 20% of persons with RA also get lumps on their skin called rheumatoid nodules, which are formed over joint areas that receive pressure, such as the knuckles, elbows and heels.
The last most common type of arthritis is inflammation of the skin and the joints, called Psoriatic Arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis can swell fingers and toes and causes discoloring of fingernails. Psoriasis is a skin disease where the skin is inflamed with red and white raised areas of the skin, typically found on the elbows, knees, scalp or naval. Typically, psoriasis is the first sign, but does not automatically signal that someone will be afflicted with psoriatic arthritis. In fact, only 10% to 30% of people with psoriasis will also get psoriatic arthritis.
Arthritis isn’t always avoidable – genetics, age, and even just being a female are beyond one’s control. However, there are some steps that can be taken to reduce your risk, including maintaining a healthy weight. Just ten pounds of extra body weight equates to 30-60lbs of additional force on your knees with each step you take! When eating a healthy diet, be sure to include fish, which is high in omega-3 and reduces inflammation.
Exercise not only will keep your waistline in check, but it will also strengthen the muscles surrounding your joints. This will protect the normal wear and tear of your joints. To further protect your joints, ensure you’re preventing injury when playing sports or carrying heavy items. For example, bend at knees and lift and not with your back.
Always seek medical attention if you are having pain. Arthritis is a progressive disease, so the longer you wait to see a doctor, the more destruction that will have occurred to your joints.
Fortunately, millions live perfectly normal lives with arthritis. And to ensure we’re helping to make your everyday life easier, Handicare stairlifts have many solutions available:
- Turn & Go: available on the Freecurve stairlift, the seat turns forward while you ride to ensure you have maximum space will riding and won’t hit your knees on the opposite handrail.
- Perch seat: specifically designed for those who cannot bend their knees, this seat option allows you to safely ride the stairlift while standing.
- Joystick control: designed in collaboration with occupational therapists, the intuitive to use joystick can be used with an arm, hand, or wrist to facilitate those who suffer from joint problems.
- Remote control: if you still find the joystick difficult to use, each stairlift comes with two remote controls for easy button functionality.
Sources: http://www.healthline.com/health/arthrosis-vs-arthritis#overview1, http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/understanding-arthritis/what-is-arthritis.php, http://www.webmd.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/guide/most-common-arthritis-types#1, http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/arthritis-prevention, http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=23220