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May Is Arthritis Awareness Month

May 17, 2017 at midnight

Arthritis is one of the leading causes of disability in the US. Joint diseases affect more than 53 million men and women and the number is expected to grow in the coming years. To raise awareness and better understand its impact, the Arthritis Foundation, together with the CDC have declared May to be the National Arthritis Awareness Month.

What Exactly Is Arthritis?

Arthritis functions as an umbrella term for over 100 conditions that affect the joints. Many of its forms are unpredictable, with symptoms that can subside or worsen in a matter of days and even hours. Common joint diseases cause pain, stiffness, swelling and a decreased range of motion. Symptoms range from mild to severe.

The more severe forms of arthritis can cause permanent changes to the joints, some visible, some only detected by X-rays. Simple movements like climbing stairs or even walking can turn into insurmountable challenges because of the chronic pain. A few forms of the disease can also impact organs, such as the lungs, eyes, skin, kidneys and the heart.

Some of the most common types are inflammatory arthritis - in which the body's immune system attacks the joints - osteoarthritis - when cartilage wears off the bones - infectious arthritis - caused by a fungus, virus or bacterium - and the metabolic kind - caused by uric acid build-up.

What Are The Warning Signs?

• Joint pain. Knee pain can also be a signal. It can manifest itself when you're climbing up a set of stairs or when simply bending and straightening the knee. The pain tends to be sharp. Other areas that can be affected early on are the ankles, thumbs, back, hips and hands.

• Stiffness. Having difficulties with simple movements after being awake for more than 30 minutes. If the stiffness doesn't go away quickly after waking up and stretching, or if it returns later on, after being physically inactive, you should make a doctor's appointment.

• Issues with using your hands. Having problems with fine-motor skills can indicate the onset of rheumatoid arthritis. If you suddenly encounter difficulties with tying your shoelaces, buttoning up, using cutlery or similar activities, a trip to your physician might be in order.

• Mild fever. Other symptoms that point to rheumatoid arthritis are those that come disguised as a type of flu. Mild fever, exhaustion, anemia and loss of weight that are still affecting the body for much longer than the flu would, can also come with joint pain and stiffness.

Who Gets Affected?

Arthritis in its many forms doesn't discriminate. Women and the elderly are more prone to suffer from it but they are not the only ones. Roughly 300 thousand children and teenagers in the US are affected by some type of joint disease. The number of adults is expected to reach 67 million by the year 2030.

Texas Spine & Joint Hospital has over 40 specialist physicians who treat various forms of arthritis. Don’t allow an arthritic condition to keep you from working and doing the things you enjoy. Schedule an appointment today to learn about treatment options for your arthritis symptoms by calling 903-758-8754.



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