I am devoting this page to all of my fellow arthritis warriors out there and everyone who is a part of the arthritis community. The stories that I share in this section is not just about my personal journey living with arthritis, it’s also about community! Now and then, I may have guests who would like to share their personal insights about their daily challenges living with arthritis.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is not a single disease; it is an informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. According to the Arthritis Foundation, there are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions. People of all ages, sexes and races can and do have arthritis, and it is the leading cause of disability in America. More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some type of arthritis. It is most common among women and occurs more frequently as people age.
Common arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. Symptoms may come and go. They can be mild, moderate or severe. They may stay about the same for years, but may progress or get worse over time. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain, inability to do daily activities and make it difficult to walk or climb stairs. Arthritis can cause permanent joint changes. These changes may be visible, such as knobby finger joints, but often the damage can only be seen on X-ray. Some types of arthritis also affect the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys and skin as well as the joints.
Diagnosing & Treatments
The diagnostic process may start with a primary care physician. Then a referral can be made to a Rheumatologist, a medical specialist who has extensive training and equipped to work with arthritis patients. While there is no cure for arthritis at the present time, there are treatments available such as medications, joint surgeries, physical therapy, and occupational therapy.
The Arthritis Foundation offers support and resources to patients and their loved ones. The Arthritis Support Network provides personalized help and support to adults with all types of arthritis and rheumatic conditions. The peer-led, local support groups offer connection, education and empowerment. I’ve been a trained volunteer Arthritis Support Network Leader for 3 years now and lead a local support group in my community. It’s always nice for adults with arthritis to come together for 1:1 support, guidance, and receive education on various topics relating to living with arthritis.
For more information about arthritis, resources, and support, please visit the Arthritis Foundation website.