Arthritis - 10 Important Facts You Should Know

Arthritis Is Not a Single Disease

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Many people think that arthritis is a single disease. Actually, there are over 100 types of arthritis and related rheumatic conditions. It is important to be accurately diagnosed and know your type of arthritis so that you can begin an appropriate course of treatment.

No Known Cure for Most Types of Arthritis

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Though some forms of arthritis, like Lyme arthritis, may be curable with antibiotics, there is no single medication or treatment that cures most types of arthritis. Treatment options can help manage pain, control arthritis symptoms, slow disease progression, and reduce joint damage or deformity.

Myths and Misconceptions About Arthritis Are Misleading

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Have you heard that arthritis only affects old people? Not true. Did you know that arthritis causes only minor aches and pains? Not true. Common forms of arthritis can be cured by changes in your diet? While rare forms of arthritis, such as arthropathy associated with Celiac disease, can effectively be cured with a gluten-free diet, this claim is inapplicable to the vast majority of cases. These and several other examples of myths and misconceptions about arthritis, perpetuated by the spread of inaccurate information, can keep a person from managing the disease properly.

Rheumatologist Specializes in Diagnosis and Treatment of Rheumatic Conditions

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Your primary care doctor can refer you to a rheumatologist or you can get an appointment through self-referral if your health insurance allows it. Evaluation by a rheumatologist is important so that you can determine your type of arthritis and start a treatment plan.

Early Diagnosis and Treatment for Arthritis Is Essential

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Since there are various types of arthritis and many treatment options, it is important to be properly diagnosed and treated early in the course of the disease. Delaying diagnosis and treatment may allow arthritis symptoms to worsen. Early diagnosis and treatment offer the best chance for preventing joint damage and disability.

Finding Optimal Arthritis Treatment Requires Trial and Error

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There are two important points to remember about arthritis treatment. Patients vary in their response to arthritis medications or other arthritis treatments. What works for one person may not work for another. Also, to find the safest and most effective medication or combination of medications, you'll have to weigh the benefits versus the risks.

Healthy Lifestyle and Good Habits Can Positively Impact Arthritis

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Regular exercise, maintaining your ideal weight, stress reduction, being a non-smoker and getting good sleep are important for living well with arthritis.

Emotional Impact of Arthritis Goes Beyond Physical Limitations

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So many emotions are stirred when you live with chronic pain. Anger, resentment, depression, isolation and fear are just a few. It is important for you and your loved ones to realize that the impact of arthritis goes beyond physical limitations.

The Cost of Arthritis Is High

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Arthritis and related rheumatic conditions are recognized as the leading cause of disability in the United States. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the total cost of arthritis is $128 billion/year and rising. Medical expenses and lost wages are factored into the financial impact of arthritis.

Arthritis Can Cause Functional Limitations Which Interfere With Daily Activities

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According to the CDC, more than 42.4% (21.1 million) of adults with doctor-diagnosed arthritis report arthritis-attributable activity limitations. Some of the limitations affect usual activities of daily living which require bending, stooping, walking and climbing stairs. Consequently, cleaning, cooking, personal hygiene and other usual activities may be affected.


Arthritis Data and Statistics. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.