People will always share their opinions about various matters, which is okay, but passing off opinions as facts can be misleading. There are a lot of myths surrounding arthritis, and it becomes relatively hard to get the facts about arthritis. Hence, I decided to write this post to educate and change some of the wrong mindsets you have about arthritis.
A wrong piece of information can make things worse when managing the disease, so you must be aware of scientifically proven facts about arthritis and prevent improper management.
Some of these facts are plain, while some might leave you surprised and intrigued. If you read further, you will also see some common myths people pass around as facts, and at the end of this post, you might need to rethink and recondition what arthritis really is and is not.
A brief overview of arthritis
Arthritis is a chronic disease often characterized by joint pain and stiffness. There are different types of arthritis, ranging from rheumatoid arthritis to osteoarthritis. Gout is also a type of arthritis that affects the neck.
Because there are different types of arthritis, it is vital to get an accurate diagnosis to have a more streamlined treatment option for better disease management.
According to statistics, it is one of the leading causes of disability in the United States, and it can affect anyone, although it is more prevalent in women. Arthritis currently has no cure, and treatment is only a form of management and prevention of other opportunistic diseases.
The facts about arthritis are hidden behind numerous unverified claims by people who live with arthritis alongside others who do not.
Dangers of having the wrong facts on arthritis
If you have the wrong facts regarding any chronic illness, it may hinder you from having the best treatment experience. It may also override sensible medical decisions, especially when you advocate for yourself.
It creates unnecessary fear in you because some myths carry doom for patients trying to live and stay happy even with their diagnosis. Some myths can go as far as devaluing drugs that can be helpful in treatment and management.
Wrong facts can also make you feel out of control and put you in a bad mood, especially when you see conflicting facts, which can make you give in to the harmful effects of a chronic disease diagnosis more heavily than you should.
Interesting facts about arthritis that you should know
1. There are over 100 types of arthritis
People always seem to think that arthritis is just arthritis but the real fact is that arthritis is a group name and there are over 100 different diseases that falls under this group including Lyme, Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (arthritis in children), Fibromyalgia, Psoriatic arthritis and lyme among several others.
Arthritis is not a single disease and if your doctor diagnoses you with arthritis, make sure to request for specific diagnosis. People always seem to think that arthritis is just arthritis, but the fact is that arthritis is a group name. There are over 100 different diseases that fall under this group, including Lyme arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis (arthritis in children), fibromyalgia, lupus, and psoriatic arthritis, among several others.
Arthritis is not a single disease; if your doctor diagnoses you with arthritis, make sure to request a specific diagnosis.
2. Arthritis affects children
Arthritis is not just an older people’s disease; it is not an illness that occurs only because the joints are weak and tired. Arthritis affects children as well.
According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), 1 in every 250 children globally has arthritis or a rheumatic condition. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of arthritis in children.
3. It can lead to other diseases
Another surprising fact about arthritis is that it can lead to other diseases, both mental and physical. The reason is that arthritis comes with a lot of pain, which puts the patient under a lot of physical and mental strain.
Arthritis can result in heart disease, obesity, depression, and low or high blood sugar.
4. Bee sting venom may reduce the symptoms of arthritis
Researchers have found that bee venom can prevent the development of arthritis in rabbits through the help of glucocorticoid hormones. Another study found out that this might also be effective for humans.
This recent study used control trials and discovered that people who used bee venom reported reduced symptoms. The author suggested more research to determine the treatment method and the extent of exposure.
5. Strong muscles can reduce arthritis pain
Having strong muscles can help to lessen the pain that comes with arthritis because muscles reduce the strain on your joints by assisting with the weight that that part of the body experiences.
For instance, your hamstring muscles will help your knee joints in walking, so much stress is placed on the muscle instead of the joints.
6. Arthritis can reduce your normal activities
Having arthritis can limit you from carrying out simple daily activities that require bending your joints. Everyday activities like climbing stairs, walking, cleaning, and even getting out of bed can become tedious.
According to the CDC, more than 40% of adults diagnosed with arthritis report arthritis-related limitations in their daily activities.
7. There is no cure for arthritis
Several online articles claim that there is a cure for arthritis, but there is no scientific research to support these claims. There is no known cure for arthritis except the ones caused by infection.
For example, Lyme arthritis which is caused by infection, can be cured with antibiotics.
However, no known, scientifically experimented, and proven drug can cure most of the over 100 types of arthritis today. If there was, arthritis would not be considered a chronic illness.
But the good news is that it can be strictly and effectively managed to almost seem like a cure. When you manage arthritis properly, you can slow down the progression of the disease, reduce joint damage, and prevent joint deformity, especially for arthritis that affects the hand.
8. Management of arthritis is costly
The CDC estimated the total medical cost of arthritis to be up to $140 billion yearly, which keeps increasing. Aside from medical bills, you also have to consider other factors such as the damages, diet, and ergonomic devices that make living with arthritis bearable.
9. Animals also have arthritis
Animals develop arthritis the same way humans do, but the most common type of arthritis in animals is osteoarthritis; the symptoms are the same as in humans.
10. Arthritis can affect your mental health
Living with arthritis involves more than just physical pain but emotional and mental changes. Having to deal with sudden physical health changes can destabilize anyone. Mood swings, depression, anger, guilt, and self-isolation are some of the emotions living with arthritis can cause.
11. Dieting is vital in managing arthritis.
Living with arthritis is all about proper management, and one of the most effective ways of managing arthritis is dieting. Anti-inflammatory diets have been proven to be effective in arthritis management.
Since inflammatory responses in the body cause arthritis, using an anti-inflammatory diet will help fight the inflammation in the body and reduce the pain and symptoms of arthritis.
12. Anybody and any gender can have arthritis
Arthritis can be found in any age group, including children and young adults; it also occurs in women just as much as in men. Some believe women are more prone to arthritis than men, but this is open to thorough interpretation and might be false depending on the context.
Certain types of arthritis can be prevalent in one gender more than the other.
For example, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus are more common in women, while gout and ankylosing spondylitis are more common in men. Meanwhile, psoriatic arthritis affects both genders equally.
13. Injuries increase the risk of arthritis
Constant injury to the joints can increase the risk of arthritis, and this is because the joints will experience trauma that can result in wearing and tearing. When these traumas are frequent, it can lead to constant inflammation resulting in arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is the type of arthritis that results from constant injury, and the risk, when compared to those without injury, can be as high as 6x.
14. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the US
Ahead of other chronic conditions and disabilities, arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States. Statistics reveal that about 58.5 million adults live with arthritis and other related rheumatic conditions.
15. People with arthritis should exercise
When you have arthritis, people expect you not to carry out any form of physical exertion, including exercises. Still, exercises have been said to be very effective in managing arthritis symptoms. Exercises help reduce the disease’s progression; they also help with the mental strain that the disease causes.
16. Extreme cold conditions do not cause arthritis
Like verywellhealth puts it, climate conditions are not the cause of arthritis, nor the cure for it. The fact that you constantly stay in an air-conditioned office or live in a cold environment is not why you have arthritis, and neither will moving to a warm climate cure arthritis.
However, hot therapy like soaking in a hot tub or using heated joint pads might relieve some of the symptoms of arthritis.
Like I earlier said, arthritis does not have a cure, however it can be strictly and effectively managed in a way that it almost seems like a cure.
When you manage arthritis properly, you can slow the progression of the disease, reduce joint damage, prevent joint deformity especially for arthritis in the hand.
17. Arthritis is more than just joint pains
Not all joint pain is arthritis, and there are other symptoms of arthritis aside from joint pain and stiffness. Arthritis can exhibit fatigue, fever, feeling sick, and even loss of motion. It is always important to confirm any symptoms you have.
You can check out my post on the early signs of arthritis and why it is crucial to detect it on time.
18. Cracking your knuckles does not cause arthritis
You are not harming your bones or joints when you crack your knuckles. The crackling sound is made because of the released gas from the area around your joints.
If you constantly crack your knuckles, it won’t cause arthritis, nor will it worsen the condition.
19. A poor diet does not cause arthritis
Dieting is not the cause of arthritis, but a proper anti-inflammatory diet can help to manage the symptoms of arthritis effectively and prevent rapid deterioration.
20. Not every older person will have arthritis
Although arthritis (osteoarthritis) is common among the aged, it does not mean that all older people will have arthritis. Some people are well advanced in age but don’t have arthritis.
These facts about arthritis are scientifically proven through research and survey studies. It will help you to make better and informed decisions when it comes to your arthritis management and also help you to advocate for yourself. If you do not have a clear understanding of what goes on in your body, there is no way you can correctly explain it to others.
Learning the facts about your condition will help you treat yourself better and show others how to treat you.
Which of these arthritis facts came as a surprise to you? Let me know in the comments.
READ ALSO: 10 Easy lower body exercises & tips for people with arthritis