By Stephen Reed, M.D., Orthopaedic Surgeon
The CDC estimates that arthritis impacts the lives of over 19 million adults nationwide. Although the most common forms of the disease are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, other forms include childhood arthritis, fibromyalgia, general arthritis, gout and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus).
Arthritis may develop several ways. Sometimes it arises from an autoimmune disorder, where the body’s immune system actually begins attacking the joints. The condition may also begin due to a broken bone, an infection or simple “wear and tear” on the joints over time. Regardless of its causes, arthritis can be debilitating because it causes pain and reduces mobility.
The condition tends to affect more women; roughly 60% of women will develop some form of arthritis during their lifetimes. Men are more prone to gout. Age and genetic predisposition also determine the likelihood of someone’s developing arthritis. Controllable risk factors include obesity, joint injuries, and infection. Some occupations also increase people’s risk for arthritis, especially those that require repetitive bending and squatting.
Although there is no cure for arthritis, a health care provider may recommend or prescribe a variety of interventions to alleviate symptoms. The doctor may prescribe medication, the use of an assistive aide like a cane or walker, or even surgery. Meanwhile patients can be proactive about managing their symptoms through weight loss and exercise. A combination of low-impact aerobic exercise, strength building and flexibility activities help the body to support the joints and improve muscle function.
In cases of severe arthritis, the best course of action may be joint replacement. The most common of these are hip and joint replacements. Dr. Stephen Reed, an orthopaedic surgeon at Central Florida Regional Hospital, will be holding a lecture on these procedures at Oakmonte Village on March 24, 2010 at 4:30. Register for the event by visiting CFRH online at http://www.centralfloridaregional.com/CommCal.asp.