There is a lot of information out there about arthritis. Wondering just what’s true and what’s not? Here are some of the most common myths and the facts to clear them up!
Myth: Arthritis is a single disease.
Fact: Arthritis refers to more than 100 diseases and conditions that affect joints and cause joint inflammation. Osteoarthritis (OA). is the most common form of arthritis and is often a matter of joints degenerating with age. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), is less common and a progressive condition where a person’s immune system attacks his or her own body.
Myth: Arthritis only affects the elderly.
Fact: Osteoarthritis most often affects people age 45 and older. It causes pain and stiffness, most commonly in the shoulders, hands, hips and/or knees.
Myth: Other than taking medication, there’s nothing you can do to treat arthritis.
Fact: Depending on the severity of a person’s arthritis, treatment could include lifestyle changes, maintaining a healthy weight, stress management, medications or joint replacement surgery.
Myth: If you suffer from arthritis, you should refrain from physical activity.
Fact: Actually, exercise has been proven to help relieve arthritis pain, improve joint function and boost mood. In addition, exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight, which can guard against the stress excess weight can put on joints. The best types of exercises to try are those that are easy on the joints, like walking, swimming or yoga. Always talk with your doctor before starting an exercise program.
Myth: Living with arthritis makes everyday tasks difficult.
Fact: While arthritis can sometimes make doing ordinary things more difficult, there are ways to cope and compensate. For instance, use tools specially designed to require less pressure to open containers, use ergonomic kitchen utensils when cooking and choose clothing that’s made with zippers instead of buttons.