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Arthritis Treatment Most Effective When Begun Early

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Arthritis Treatment Most Effective When Begun Early

May is National Arthritis Month

Arthritis is the nation’s most common cause of disability; it can affect anyone, at anytime of life.

While incurable, arthritis is an entirely manageable disease. When treatment begins early in the disease process, the results can be quite effective.

May is National Arthritis month. If you’re one of the forty-six million Americans diagnosed with the disease, it’s the perfect time to explore the numerous treatment options available.

What is arthritis?

Arthritis affects the joints, ligaments, and other supportive tissues, causing pain, stiffness, and swelling. There are over one hundred types of arthritis, and three basic categories:

  • Infectious – caused by bacterial or fungal infection, this type of arthritis includes fungal, spirochetal (caused by lyme disease), and tuberculosis arthritis.
  • Inflammatory – caused by the patient’s immune system attacking the tissue lining and cushioning the joints. Inflammatory arthritis includes gout, juvenile rheumatoid, lupus arthritis, and rheumatoid (the most common inflammatory arthritis).
  • Non-inflammatory – often a result of mechanical factors in older people, the cartilage cushioning the bones begins to break down, eventually allowing the bone to rub against bone. Non-inflammatory arthritis includes osteoarthritis – the most common type of arthritis – fibromyalgia, arthritis of thyroid disease, and arthritis after injury.

Arthritis quick facts


  • Patients are generally over forty
  • Symptoms include pain, stiffness, and swelling around a joint lasting more than a few weeks
  • The most affected joints are in the feet, hips, knees, and spine

Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Approximately seventy-five percent rheumatoid arthritis patients are women, predominantly between thirty and sixty
  • Symptoms include morning stiffness lasting more than half an hour and pain in several joints at once, particularly the same joints on either side of the body
  • Causes redness, swelling, and/or a warm or hot sensation in the joint’s lining, and may also affect internal organs such as the eyes, heart, or lungs

Arthritis overlaps with many other diseases

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that fifty-two percent of those with diabetes also have arthritis.

Twenty percent of Crohn’s patients develop spondylitis (spinal arthritis); a further twenty percent develop peripheral arthritis (joints away from the spine).

Treating the joint swelling associated with Crohn’s, celiac, and lyme diseases is vital; left untreated, arthritis can result.

Arthritis treatment options

Recently, arthritis medication has expanded and improved; there are numerous treatment options that many sufferers are unaware of. From analgesics, corticosteroids, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, to topical creams and gels, biologic response modifiers, and disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs…consult your physician for an option that’s right for you.