May is National Arthritis Awareness Month

The month of May is recognized each year as National Arthritis Awareness Month. The significance of this observation is to bring attention to a condition that currently affects over 53 million Americans and is expected to grow to over 67 million people by the year 2030.  Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and has an economic impact of over $156 million in medical expenses and lost wages.

There are three major forms of arthritis. These are:

  • Osteoarthritis – This is the most common form of arthritis which results in the wearing down of the cartilage at the ends of bones. Osteoarthritis leads to bone rubbing against bone, causing pain.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis – an autoimmune disease that causes an inflammatory reaction to occur in the synovium or lining of the joints. Eventually this will cause the joints to deteriorate.
  • Psoriatic arthritis – occurs in people who have psoriasis. It affects the joints as well as the ligaments and tendons that attach to the bones.

There is a lot of misinformation about arthritis and available treatment options. Some common misconceptions are:

  • Arthritis only affects the elderly – this is not true. Arthritis can occur at any age.
  • Exercise may make arthritis worse – this is not true. Exercise improves muscle strength which can take some of the pressure away from the joints.
  • All joint pain is related to arthritis – this is not true. Other causes of joint pain include gout, bursitis, lupus and tendonitis.
  • There is no treatment for arthritis – this isn’t true. Often treatment will involve relieving the symptoms with medications and physical therapy. Surgery may be needed if the condition is causing limitations in one’s ability to perform functions of daily living.

If you are experiencing any pain or discomfort in your joints, it is advisable to speak with a rheumatologist or orthopedist who specializes in treating arthritic conditions. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Flushing Hospital Medical Center you may call 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.