Understanding Arthritis During a Global Pandemic

Staying healthy during the pandemic is important. This unprecedented time of social distancing has disrupted the daily routine of many, transforming approaches to medical care, including arthritis management. Coupled with maintaining a healthy diet and exercise, pain management is important to reduce joint stress and the toll arthritis takes on the body physically and mentally. While the circumstances vary between people, arthritis is a disease that causes painful joint inflammation. Because it affects more than 54 million American adults, every person should recognize this chronic condition. To help shed light on the subject, below are several frequently asked questions that patients have.

A Guide to Arthritis

Are all cases the same?

No. There are more than 100 types of arthritis. The most common form, known as osteoarthritis, happens due to the gradual wear of joint cartilage and bone. Another prevalent type, known as rheumatoid arthritis, occurs because of an autoimmune response that inflames a joint’s lining and eventually spreads to the cartilage and bone.

What are the common signs?

Symptoms can vary depending on the type that you have. Inflammation can also affect numerous joints throughout the body, causing symptoms that are chronic or sporadic.

However, in most cases, individuals affected by the condition will experience joint pain, stiffness, and fatigue. Joints may also appear visibly swollen, turn red, or feel warm to the touch.

Who is at risk?

arthritisAny person can develop arthritis, and the exact causes behind the condition are not fully known. However, you may develop the disease if you have a family history of the condition, or are obese, getting older, or a woman. Individuals who endure traumatic injuries may also sustain joint damage that could contribute.

What can help prevent it?

Although you cannot change risk factors like genetics and age, there are a few others that you can address to minimize your risk. Specifically, staying active and eating healthy is critical, as these habits promote better joint health and mobility. The American Heart Association also provides a Six-Week Beginner Walking Plan that can be easily implemented inside your home to accommodate shifts in your physical activity routine.

How can you manage it?

If you have arthritis, your healthcare provider will develop a custom care plan to minimize the likelihood of flare-ups. In mild cases, doctors may prescribe regular exercise to promote weight loss or the avoidance of inflammatory foods—such as processed meats and refined carbohydrates. In severe instances, you may need to see a specialist. Your primary care provider may recommend a pain management specialist or an orthopedic surgeon. They may advise prescription medications to minimize inflammation, physical rehabilitation to promote mobility, or surgery to repair joints. Talk to your healthcare provider about whether your vaccinations and other preventive services are up to date to help prevent you from becoming ill with other diseases.

While living with arthritis presents unique challenges, you can improve your joint health by working with our staff to diagnose your specific condition and develop effective treatment plans for pain management and improved mobility. Coryell Health has multiple clinic locations to serve you, with clinics in Gatesville, Goldthwaite, Waco, and Moody, TX.  To learn more about our services, visit us online. For appointments, call (254) 865-2166.