Did you know that arthritis is not a single disease? In fact, there are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions! It’s most commonly known as joint inflammation, affecting people of all age, race, and gender. Arthritis is leading cause of disability in America, with more than 50 million people diagnosed.
The different types of arthritis are degenerative, inflammatory, infectious, and metabolic. Of these, the two most common forms are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and falls under the degenerative category. It’s also known as the ‘wear and tear’ arthritis. A break down in the cartilage over time can occur causing pain, swelling, or stiffness in the joints. It generally comes on slowly and progresses over time, but it can be related to an injury as well. The most common areas affected by osteoarthritis are knees, spine, hips, hand, and fingers.
Rheumatoid arthritis is the second most popular form of arthritis and falls in the inflammatory category. It’s caused by an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the body’s joint tissue, causing inflammation in the joint lining. It can cause the joints to lose their shape, resulting in a loss of movement. The symptoms can be mild at times or occur in painful flare-ups. While doctor don’t know the cause of rheumatoid arthritis, they believe it can be genetic.
Now you’ve been diagnosed, so what kinds of treatments are out there? While there’s nothing that can be done to reverse the cartilage loss, there are ways to reduce the symptoms and keep it from progressing. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise plan are essential to the treatment. If needed, your physician may suggest medication or surgery to help with the pain.
There are other products on the market that can also help. Here at ACG, we carry the Therall line of products. These unique supports that have a ceramic fiber infused into the fabric. What this does is take the body’s heat and infuses it back into your joints to increase circulation, soothe aching joints, and increasing mobility. They offer a lightweight compression in a variety of sizes for your wrist, hands, knees, ankle, elbow, and back. They are also on sale for the month of May in recognition of Arthritis Awareness Month. Some of the other products that can help with pain relief are TENS units, Biofreeze, and Sombra.
For More information on arthritis, visit the Arthritis Foundation or Arthritis.com.