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The Pain of Arthritis

Arthritis is very common but may not be quite understood. In reality, “arthritis” is not one disease; it refers to joint pain or joint disease. With more than 100 types of arthiritis,it affects people of all ages, sexes and races, and is the leading cause of disability in America. More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some type of arthritis. If appears to be more common in women, and increase chances of getting it come with age.

Common symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and inability to use the joint fully. Symptoms may come and go and can be mild, moderate or severe. Years may go by with the same problem, and then it may worsen. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain, limit daily activities and make it difficult to walk or climb stairs. Arthritis changes may be visible, such as knobby finger joints, but often the damage can only be seen on X-ray.

Talk to your primary care health provider if you feel arthritis may be a problem for you. An arthritis specialist, or rheumatologist, should be involved if the diagnosis is uncertain or if the arthritis may be inflammatory. Rheumatologists typically manage ongoing treatment for inflammatory arthritis, gout and other complicated cases. We have found around our area that rheumatologist are in short supply! It can take months to get an appointment! In the meantime, there are things we can suggest to help.

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