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This Joint Is Getting To Me

Arthritis Can Make Daily Activities A Real Pain For Seniors

Our bodies have a variety of joints, each designed to have a certain amount of flexibility and absorb a certain amount of shock. Cartilage, a tough but flexible tissue that connects bones together, plays a vital role in allowing these joints to work smoothly.

One of the most prevalent, chronic health problems is inflammation and damage to joint cartilage and its surrounding structures. Known as arthritis, this category of illnesses create stiffness, pain, instability and weakness. It can also create deformities in physical appearance, such as fingers that wonít straighten.

Arthritis is sometimes accepted as the aches and pains of aging. This is an incorrect assumption. First of all, the disease can begin at any age. Secondly, not every senior suffers with arthritis. Finally, for those with arthritis, there are options for easing its pain and slowing joint damage.

Bending over, picking up a rug and shaking it clean can turn into a painful chore to avoid when arthritis strikes one or more joints.

Statistics

Types

  • The number of Americans that have arthritis symptoms is on an upward trend:
  • 1985 - 35 Million
  • 1998 - 42 Million
  • 2014 - 50 Million (Ĺ of adults 65 years old or older have arthritis.)
  • Arthritis affects women (26%) more than men (18%).
  • Arthritis limits the common daily activities of 23 million people. (This includes walking, bathing and dressing).
  • Arthritis costs the economy $156 billion dollars per year. This includes:
  • 1,000,000 Hospitalizations
  • 44 Million outpatient doctor visits
  • Work losses (Ranks 2nd in causing work disability. Heart disease is first.)

here are more than 100 conditions that fit under the umbrella term of arthritis. Two very common types that affect seniors are:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

Itís easy to see that they belong in the category, along with bursitis and tendonitis. Logic tells you that tennis elbow and carpel tunnel syndrome also belong in the group. Lyme disease and lupus may not be as well known for the arthritic ties.

Did you know that gout is a form of arthritis? This disease creates, then deposits, needle-shaped crystals of uric acid into joints. Not surprisingly, the result is severe pain. Gout commonly affects the big toe first and often affects only one joint at a time.

Some forms of arthritis go beyond pain in a single joint. Some even go beyond joints and become "systemic", affecting a body organ or system.

(Sources: Arthritis Foundation, U.S. Census Bureau)