Living With Arthritis

By: Debi Carser

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joint and for those who live with arthritis it can be a painful, frustrating and debilitating disease. So much so, in fact, that back in the days of the Roman empire, citizens with severe arthritis were exempt foromm paying taxes during the time of Emperor Diocletian. Unfortunately today's government does not afford such privileges to arthritis sufferers but there are a few things you can do to help to manage it.

According to The National Arthritis Data Workgroup of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases one in seven people in the United States has arthritis and that number is expecting to increase to 60 million people who have it by the year 2020 as the baby boomer population ages. And while not all forms of arthritis are the same or have the same degree of severity, it is important for those who do have it to understand it and how to cope with it.

The word Arthritis comes from the Greek words "artho", meaning joint, and "itis", meaning inflammation. It usually affects people who are fifty-five years of age or old but can affect those younger as well. Although there are many different types of arthritis the most common form is known as osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease which could be the result of infection of the joint, age, or trauma to the joint.

With a normal joint cartilage, which is at the end of each bone were it meets another bone, protects the joint and provides smooth movement. Pain in the joint is caused when this cartilage starts to break down and in extreme cases this can lead to the bare bones in the joint touching and rubbing together. In these cases the joint starts to lose its shape and spurs are formed by the thickening the the bone ends.

The most common treatment of arthritis is to take some form of anti-inflammatory drug which helps to keep the inflammation down had also has some painkilling effect as well. The most common of these being drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, and ketoprofen. As always though, before taking any medication for relief of arthritis pain it is a good idea to speak with your doctor who can prescribe the best treatment for your needs.

Drugs are not the only treatment for arthritis and exercise and diet has been shown to have benefit in the treatment of arthritis. Exercise has been shown to not only reduce the inflammatory associated with arthritis but it can also have the potential of slow the progression of the disease. Keeping active can help maintain or improve the mobility with the joint not to mention the added benefit of keeping yourself in generally good health overall. Again however, it is advised that before starting any exercise program speak with your doctor to help determine your level of fitness and design an exercise routine that suites you and your arthritis.

Living with arthritis does not have to be debilitating experience with no end in sight. In most cases it is manageable with a little effort, knowledge and guidance from your health care professional.

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