May is Arthritis Awareness Month, and it is important to recognize that arthritis does not discriminate. It is a malady that affects young people and seniors alike. The pain is real and the resulting “disabilities” can render sufferers helpless, especially when it comes to seniors with arthritis and managing activities of daily living.
Arthritis is an inflammation in the joints. This disease can cause pain in the fingers, elbows, knees, shoulders, spine…wherever there’s a movable coupling between bones, there is a risk for some form of arthritis.
It is estimated that arthritis affects more than 50 million people in the United States. This affliction takes many forms and can make a weather forecaster out of practically every sufferer. (When barometric pressure changes, it effects the pressure of fluid in the joints, causing increased discomfort).
Eight primary types of arthritis include:
Osteoarthritis: A degenerative joint disease, that occurs when the cartilage between joints diminishes, causing pain due to a lack of cushion between bones; It is most common in weight-bearing joints such as knees, hips and spine, and affects posture and mobility
Rheumatoid: An autoimmune disorder, where the body’s immune system attacks itself; RA can be inherited or genetic and is not contagious; the second most common form of arthritis, it typically effects fingers, knuckles, elbows, shoulders, knees and feet
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis: Exists in various forms; Still’s Disease is one form that affects the whole body, causing daily fevers and anemia, and can present secondary effects on the heart, lungs, eyes and nervous system; Usually physical therapy and exercise is recommended for growing bodies
Infectious Arthritis: Caused by bacterial or viral infections that affects joints and other areas; it is often caused by staph infections, tuberculosis, Lyme disease and gonorrhea; it can also present as a result of injury where organisms directly impact the joints
Ankylosing Spondylosis: A systemic disease that effects more than just joints; an inherited arthritis of the spine, vertebrae fuse together, diminishing posture and severely limiting mobility
Lupus: A chronic, systemic, inflammatory, connective-tissue disease that causes swelling, pain and damage to joints, skin and internal organs; the antibodies the immune system produces naturally to fight bacteria and viruses, do not discern the difference between foreign invaders and healthy tissue
Bone Spurs: Bone protrusions on vertebrae or other areas, as a result of the bone trying to heal itself by producing more bone; bone spurs can cause significant discomfort as they come in contact with soft tissues and nerves
Gout: A crystal-induced arthritis that results from an accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joints
If you or someone you love suffers from any form of arthritis, the compassionate caregivers at Home Helpers are available 24/7, 365, to assist with activities of daily living and improve quality of life, to make life’s journey a little less painful and a great deal more pleasurable! 727.942.2539