Each May, we celebrate National Arthritis Awareness Month in honor of the more than 50 million Americans that are impacted by this disease. As seniors, is critical to be informed about the risk factors, causes, and treatment options available for those with arthritis. In fact, 1 in every 5 adults are impacted by arthritis in the U.S.—making it the number one cause of disability in the country.
Arthritis is not actually a single disease, but rather an umbrella term for the more than 100 different types of joint pain or joint disease. Arthritis affects individuals of all ages, races, and sexes, but is more common in women and occurs more frequently as people age. Common arthritis symptoms are swelling, pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion in joints, which can progress, stay the same, or feel better with time.
Although there are more than 100 types of arthritis and related joint conditions, the most common form is osteoarthritis—which occurs when cartilage wears away and causes bones to rub together. This often causes pain, swelling, and stiffness, and risk factors for developing the condition include family history, being overweight, previous injury, and aging.
Fortunately, mild or moderate symptoms of osteoarthritis and other common forms of arthritis can be alleviated by simple actions, such as regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, strengthening affected areas, and taking anti-inflammatory medications, which are often covered by Medicare Part D.
According to the CDC, walking is one of the easiest ways to improve arthritis symptoms while also keeping up with your overall fitness. That’s why it is important that this May, you take some time to get outside, take a walk, and keep yourself healthy! There are numerous opportunities to get involved with arthritis awareness and prevention efforts, including community walks, volunteering events, and fundraising efforts. There are constant scientific discoveries that help those living with arthritis, so this May, get involved with efforts to help expedite the process of finding a cure!