Myths and Facts About Arthritis

Myths and Facts About Arthritis

More than 92 million adults in the United States have arthritis or arthritis-like symptoms. Despite this eye-opening prevalence, there’s still a fair amount of misinformation surrounding this disease.

At Lafferty Family Care, we believe that patient education is an important step in safeguarding your health. To that end, Dr. Scott Lafferty and our team are focusing on arthritis in this month’s blog post. We’re debunking some of the myths and illuminating the facts that can help you better manage the disease.

Myth #1: Arthritis is just one condition

One of the most important points to understand about arthritis is that it’s a catchall term for more than 100 different diseases that lead to joint pain and inflammation.

To make it easier to understand, we can break arthritis down into three main groups:

There are other, less common ways in which arthritis can develop, such as on the heels of an infection, but the three groups above represent the most common types. Ultimately, the takeaway here is that there are many roads that can lead to arthritis, which brings us to our next point.

Myth #2: Arthritis only develops in older people

While age is certainly a factor when it comes to arthritis, especially degenerative forms of the disease, joint pain and inflammation can strike people of all ages.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly half of people who are 65 years or older have arthritis, and nearly one-third of people between the ages of 45 and 64 have it. About 7% of people between 18 and 44 have arthritis, and while it’s not common, children can also develop arthritis.

Myth #3: You can’t prevent arthritis

In some cases, such as with autoimmune-related arthritis, there’s little that you can do to prevent the disease. Where you can take steps to prevent (or at least slow) arthritis is with the degenerative forms of the disease.

For example, if you have an ankle injury that wasn’t treated properly, you’re far more susceptible to developing arthritis in that joint. Any time you have a musculoskeletal injury, it’s important to seek prompt treatment so the joint has a better chance of healing properly.

There are also ways to minimize your risk factors for arthritis. One of the bigger risk factors is carrying too many pounds, which stresses your joints. Maintaining a healthy weight can go a long way toward keeping conditions like osteoarthritis at bay.

Myth #4: You shouldn’t exercise when you have arthritis

We understand that joint pain can leave you less than eager to exercise, and you may heed the symptom as a warning to give your joints a break, but the opposite is often true. Joints are designed to move. Through exercise, you can strengthen your joints and offset inflammation.

Fact: Arthritis can’t be cured

Unfortunately, this statement is true — there is no cure for any of the many forms of arthritis. There are, however, plenty of ways we can help you better manage the disease and reduce its impact on your life. Through medications, lifestyle changes, and even joint replacement, we can keep you moving with minimal pain.

If you have more questions about arthritis, please don’t hesitate to contact our office in Bentonville, Arkansas, to schedule an appointment.

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