Arthritis is the term used to describe over 100 different medical conditions and diseases that impair a person’s physical movement by damaging joints, bones, muscles, cartilage and connective tissues. According to the Arthritis Foundation, the disease affects one in five adults as well as 300,000 children. It is the nation’s leading cause of disability. In fact, by the year 2030 an estimated 67 million Americans will have arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is characterized by the breakdown of joint cartilage and is often associated with risk factors like obesity, history of joint injuries and age.
Another common form of the disease is rheumatoid arthritis, which affects around 1.5 million Americans. This form is more common in women and causes inflammation throughout the body, ultimately affecting the heart and other organs.
Other forms of arthritis include lupus, gout and fibromyalgia.
Currently, there is no cure. Rheumatologists, physicians trained in arthritis care, can diagnose, treat and help patients manage their pain. Seeking a rheumatologist immediately after an arthritis diagnosis is the best way to start management of the disease.
Many people manage the disease through medication and exercise. Many senior communities offer programs to help arthritis victims cope with the disease.
In such health programs, clients benefit from increased stair-climbing power, increased circulation, better coordination and muscle mass and bone density. Blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen saturation levels are monitored before and after each exercise session. Physical therapy is also used to help treat arthritis. Physical therapy focuses primarily on independent mobility, regaining strength and balance, using proper body mechanics and energy saving techniques to better perform mobility tasks.
Article provided by Eunice Trotter of American Senior Communities, www.ASCSeniorCare.com