Arthritis is just about as common as it comes. Between 2013 and 2015, roughly 54.5 million Americans – more than 27 percent – had been diagnosed with either rheumatoid or osteoarthritis, or closely related inflammatory pain conditions such as gout, lupus or fibromyalgia.
So if you’ve been noticing some stiffness, you’re certainly not alone. Whereas many people, sadly, think there’s nothing to do but suffer in silence, you may be able to get better treatment and better outcomes by understanding these seven little-known facts. Let’s get started.
1. Arthritis Is Among the Oldest-Known Human Conditions
A new diagnosis of arthritis (or any disease) can be frightening, but know this: People have been getting it for more than 500,000 years. It isn’t deadly, and it doesn’t decrease the quality of life substantially, as long as you receive treatment.
2. Injury Is a Major Precursor
Have you ever broken a finger or blown out a knee?Watch out, because those areas are extremely prone to developing arthritis in later years. In fact, injured knees are about six times as likely to develop arthritis in that joint, and hip injuries are roughly three times as likely to result in arthritic inflammation.
The takeaway here is, while you can’t do anything about injuries that have already occurred, to watch your step, and tell your doctor if you have a trouble spot that needs to be watched.
3. It’s A Universal Problem
When we say “universal,” we don’t just mean that arthritis affects all populations in the world – though it does. We also mean it can affect all places in the body. While we think of hands when it comes to arthritis, feet are often victims too, as well as wrists, ankles, knees and elbows.
4. … But It Does Vary by Race
Caucasians, African Americans and Latinos all suffer from arthritis. However, while the first two report similar incidences of the condition, African Americans suffer more from it. And while people of Hispanic origin report fewer cases, they too find it more debilitating than their white counterparts.
5. Bees May Hold an Answer
Weirdly, bee venom is one of the most promising treatments on the market today. Arthritis patients for whom nothing else has worked who get shots of bee venom frequently leave their doctor’s offices feeling pain-free. Snake venom is also proving to be effective. The treatment stems from beekeepers, who noticed thatstings improved arthritis. Don’t go doing it on your own, though … some people are very allergic, so make sure you try this in controlled conditions.
6. Warm Climates Don’t Cure Arthritis
Before you move to Belize to “cure” your pain, know that tropical climates won’t automatically erase the problem. You’ll still need to treat it with a doctor’s help. However, warm climates are soothing, so you may still want to pack a bag.
7. There Are More Than 100 Types of Arthritis
That’s right, more than a hundred! What does that mean for you? That you shouldn’t accept one bad diagnosis or leave it at one unhelpful treatment. If your diagnosis seems off or your treatment isn’t working, there could be a very good reason for that. Seek a second opinion and new treatment, and keep fighting!
Knowing these facts doesn’t make you immune to arthritis, of course, but it can increase the chances that you’ll respond to it quickly and intelligently. Tell your doctor if you are suffering arthritis right away, as knowing your history can make them more able to help you deal with the problem with as few side effects and as little pain as possible.
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