Understanding Arthritis

osteoarthritis knee(BlackDoctor.org) — What is arthritis? Although the word arthritis actually means joint inflammation, in the public health world the term is actually used to describe more than 100 rheumatic diseases and conditions that affect joints, the tissues which surround the joint and other connective tissue.

Here are just some arthritis facts that you may or may not know:

What are the most commonly diagnosed types of arthritis?

Childhood arthritis, fibromyalgia, general arthritis, gout, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus are the most common forms of arthritis.

Which group does this disease affect the most?

Most types of arthritis are more common in women; 60% of all people with arthritis are women.  Gout is more common in men.

What are the top arthritis risk factors?

• The risk of developing most types of arthritis increases with age. Specific genes are associated with a higher risk of certain types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematous (SLE), and ankylosing spondylitis.

• Women are more likely to have arthritis than are men.

• Age, gender and genes are risk factors which cannot be modified. There are a few risk-factors that every individual can control.

• Certain occupations involving repetitive knee bending and squatting are associated with osteoarthritis of the knee.

• Excess weight can contribute to both the onset and progression of knee osteoarthritis.

What are some of the treatments for arthritis?

• The focus of treatment for arthritis is to control pain, minimize joint damage, and improve or maintain function and quality of life.

• The treatment of arthritis may involve medication, physical therapy, weight loss, splints or joint assistive aids, and surgery.

How is arthritis diagnosed?

Diagnosing arthritis often requires a detailed medical history of current and past symptoms, physical examination, x-rays, and blood work. It is possible to have more than one form of arthritis at the same time.

For more information on living with diabetes, visit BDO’s Arthritis Channel.