Written and medically reviewed by Dorcas Morak, PharmDMay is National Arthritis Awareness Month, a time to spread awareness about arthritis and its impact on millions of Americans. Whether you are living with arthritis, know someone who is, or simply want to help, there are many ways to get involved.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a common and painful condition that affects millions of Americans every year. It is an inflammatory condition that can cause joint pain, swelling, and stiffness in body parts such as feet, hands, hips, knees, and back.
Fast Facts About Arthritis
Arthritis statistics in the United States show that:
- About 58.5 million adult Americans are diagnosed with arthritis.
- About 300,000 children have arthritis or a rheumatic condition.
- Arthritis is the number one cause of disability in the United States.
- About 1/3 of working-class people with arthritis have limitations in their ability to work.
- More than $156 billion annually in lost wages and medical expenses are due to arthritis and related conditions.
- Arthritis is responsible for nearly 1 million hospitalizations yearly.
- 52% of adults with diabetes have arthritis.
- 36% of adults who are obese have arthritis.
What are the forms of arthritis?
There are three significant forms of arthritis:
- Osteoarthritis: This type of arthritis occurs when the cartilage that covers the end of bones wears down, causing pain as the bone rubs against other bones.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: This is an autoimmune disorder where your own immune system attacks and inflames the lining of your joints, leading to joint deterioration.
- Psoriatic arthritis: This type of arthritis is associated with psoriasis, a skin condition that causes red, scaly patches on the skin.
How do doctors diagnose arthritis?
Diagnosis of arthritis starts with a thorough examination of your joint pain, including location, timing, and inflammation. X-rays or advanced imaging like CT or MRI may also be used.
Which medications are used for arthritis?
When it comes to medication, over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), and naproxen (Aleve) can help with minor aches and pains. And for autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, drugs like methotrexate and steroids may be prescribed by your doctor.
But did you know that non-pharmaceutical approaches can also improve arthritis symptoms? Physical activity like walking, swimming, and yoga can reduce pain and other symptoms by almost 40%!
Is arthritis curable?
While arthritis isn't curable, you can still manage the symptoms and improve your quality of life. And in severe cases, joint replacement surgery may be an option.
How can I get involved in National Arthritis Awareness Month?
Are you looking to make a meaningful impact during National Arthritis Awareness Month? Here are some ways to get involved:
- Spread awareness by sharing educational content about arthritis on your social media platforms.
- Join a fundraising campaign to support arthritis research and treatment.
- Encourage individuals with symptoms of arthritis to seek early diagnosis and treatment.
- Help people with arthritis save on medication costs by sharing information about using rxless when filling prescriptions. Let's make a difference together!