The Doctor is In: Taking aim at arthritis

A recently published study of one million American adults underscores the
impact of chronic arthritis pain on quality of life. According to an April 28 news release
from Arthritis Care & Research, a medical journal published by the American
College of Rheumatology, “Compared to other adults, those with arthritis had a
higher average number of physically unhealthy days per month (seven versus
three), mentally unhealthy days (five versus three), total unhealthy days (10
versus five), and activity-limited days (four versus one).”

One of the most commonly diagnosed types
of arthritis is osteoarthritis (OA), the result of wear and tear to the
cartilage between your knees, hips, fingers, and other joints. Because it takes
many years for the cartilage to deteriorate, OA usually is first diagnosed in
individuals who are middle aged or older. OA also commonly occurs in people who
are obese, those who have experienced a prior joint injury, and individuals
with a family history of the disorder. In addition, a new report
from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that people with
type 2 diabetes are more likely to suffer from arthritis – and to suffer
negative consequences on their health as a result of being unable to enjoy a
physically active lifestyle.

Symptoms of OA range from mild swelling
and joint stiffness to more disabling loss of motion and creaking or grinding
noises in the hip or knee. People with advanced OA may find everyday activities
such as walking or climbing stairs very painful and difficult.

Typically, the diagnosis process for OA
includes a thorough physical examination, X-rays, and possibly other medical
tests. The goal of treatment for OA is to relieve pain and restore mobility.
For people who are newly diagnosed, doctors typically prescribe
anti-inflammatory medication or steroid injections. A period of rest, lifestyle
changes such as losing weight, or physical therapy also may be recommended.
People whose OA is not responding to these conservative approaches after some
time might consider partial or total joint replacement surgery as a last
resort.

If you or a loved one is suffering from
arthritis pain, the following online resources from the Arthritis Foundation
may be of assistance:

Life Improvement Series Programs

Stretching video
Arthritis risk
assessment

Tips to cope
with arthritis pain

And more

* Joshua Feinberg, D.O., is a family medicine physician in practice at
the Crozer Health Pavilion, 145 Brinton Lake Road, Suite
201, Glen Mills
, PA 19342, 610-459-1619.

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About Crozer Keystone Staff

Crozer-Keystone Health System’s physicians, specialists and advanced practitioners are committed to improving the health of our community through patient-centered, quality care across a full continuum of health services. Crozer Brinton Lake is Crozer-Keystone’s comprehensive outpatient care facility in western Delaware County, offering primary care, specialty services, outpatient surgery and advanced cancer treatment. Contact us: 300 Evergreen Drive, Glen Mills, PA 19342 http://www.crozerkeystone.org/Brinton-Lake 1-855-254-7425

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