Today there are about 70 million Americans with arthritis… one in four people suffer from the pain and cost of this disabling disease. In just one year, arthritis will be responsible for more than half a billion dollars in lost wages. It is important to review the economic consequences of arthritis because every year arthritis takes a devastating financial toll on our society.

Over ten years, arthritis-related job loss was associated with a 37% decrease in income for arthritis patients – all those without arthritis had a 90% increase in income over the same time period!

If you…a friend…or relative has arthritis, it’s important to know that early treatment can help sufferers go on with their normal daily lives and remain productive members of society.

The term “arthritis” is derived from the Greek: “arthron” means “joint” and “itis” means inflammation. Arthritis is a word that describes more than 100 different conditions, some involving inflammation and some not.

Arthritis is not a single disease. They include about 100 different conditions that affect the joints and pose unique problems for diagnosis and treatment.

Some common types of include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, pseudogout, ankylosing spondylitis, polymyalgia rheumatica, psoriatic , Reiter’s disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, and fibromyalgia.

Most types of arthritis involve osteoarthritis. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury or infection.

As an example of inflammation, take a simple scratch… Your body automatically releases chemicals that cause fluid to build up and white blood cells to collect around the area of ​​the scratch. As your body fights foreign matter and bacteria, inflammation occurs…redness…heat…puffiness…and pain occurs at the sight of the injury.

In the case of unfortunately, this natural defense mechanism goes awry. Instead, elements of the blood designed to fight infection and repair the infection attack the body.

And unless this inflammatory process stops, it will continue to attack the body and cause joint destruction.

So you can begin to see how treatments that relieve pain — but don’t reduce inflammation — may not adequately treat the disease.

It’s important to get the right treatment early…because the right care can help patients lead a more active and comfortable life.

However, many people with Arthritis delay going to the doctor. Either they are afraid to go to the doctor or feel that nothing can be done to treat their arthritis. Other reasons include the idea that all arthritis medications are harmful or that arthritis is just a normal part of aging.

Some people try unproven treatments that also delay proper diagnosis and treatment.

Because arthritis may develop gradually, people often ignore its symptoms or early warning signs. These include persistent pain, tenderness, or swelling in one or more joints…symptoms that should not be ignored as signs of ageing.

Another warning symptom is joint pain and stiffness… especially when it appears in the morning.

Low back pain is one of the first symptoms of arthritis. For people over the age of 60, arthritis is the most common cause of low back pain.

Arthritis activity varies unexpectedly. Symptoms are cyclical in nature and seem to come and go.

Therefore, it is important to remember that any symptoms or signs of arthritis that persist for more than six weeks – no matter how mild – should be checked by a doctor. And if symptoms are severe, waiting six weeks can be too long.

The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis is implicated in both.

But these types of arthritis differ in terms of … the age of the patients affected … the joints affected … the type of stiffness … and the possibility of disability.

Nearly 16 million Americans suffer from osteoarthritis – the most common type of arthritis. Although osteoporosis can occur at any age, it most often begins in people in their 50s and 60s.

Osteoarthritis or degenerative disc disease is a disorder of the cartilage – the thorn that covers the ends of the long bones. Cartilage is made up of a cell called chondrocytes that are located within a framework made of collagen and proteoglycans. Under normal circumstances, chondrocytes make collagen and proteoglycin – in other ways – make the frame in which they sit. With osteoarthritis, the chondrocytes behave abnormally and start making destructive enzymes such as collagenase, stromelysin, and others. These enzymes degrade cartilage… These enzymes also attract inflammatory cells that secrete substances called cytokines that cause more inflammation and damage the cartilage, underlying bone, and lining of the joint.

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