Arthritis is an umbrella term that encompasses over one hundred different diseases and medical conditions that impair a persons physical movement.While each is a little different from the others, they all cause damage to joints, bones, muscles, cartilage and connective tissues.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 21.2% of people in the United States have some type of arthritis.That translates to 53.2 million people.

By 2030, an estimated 67 million Americans will be affected.Arthritis is the nations leading cause of disability, and currently there is no cure.In honor of National Arthritis Awareness Month, we take a closer look at this group of diseases.What We Know About ArthritisIn conjunction with a persons primary care physician, rheumatologists play a role in managing the various types of arthritis.These physicians are specialists trained to diagnose arthritis and provide care.

That includes treating the disease itself, as well as symptoms such as pain and swelling in joints.Because there is no cure, arthritis care costs the United States billions of dollars every year.That figure includes physician costs, health care expenses, pain management interventions and over-the-counter medications.Depending on the type of arthritis a person lives with, lost wages are another expense.

The CDC estimates those costs to be around $164 billion a year.Here is a quick breakdown of the different types of arthritis and how common each one is:Osteoarthritis: The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis affects nearly 27 million Americans.Most of those diagnosed with it are over the age of 45.Osteoarthritis is characterized by the breakdown of joint cartilage and is associated with risk factors like obesity, age and past history of joint injuries.

Women also tend to be at higher risk.While some experts believe there may be a genetic predisposition for developing osteoarthritis, the evidence isnt conclusive.Rheumatoid arthritis: Another common form is rheumatoid arthritis.This chronic autoimmune disease impacts around 1.5 million Americans.

This type of arthritis is more common in women.In addition to the pain that comes from damage to the lining of the joints, rheumatoid arthritis causes fever, fatigue and a loss of appetite.The result is inflammation throughout the body, which can eventually lead to problems with the heart and other organs.Metabolic arthritis (gout): Metabolic arthritis is caused by a painful buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints.

Its more commonly known as gout.While this buildup is not uncommon, the body is typically able to rid itself of the uric acid.When it cant, however, the result can be periods of intense pain, especially in the big toe.

Experts say gout is the byproduct of the breakdown of purines, which are found in many foodsmost notably red meat, organ meats, alcohol and some seafoods.If you or a senior loved one is struggling to maintain independence at home because of arthritis, an assisted living community might be a solution to consider.How Assisted Living Facilities Help With Arthritis Treatment is a good resource to help you learn more.Arthritis Awareness Month in MayThe Arthritis Foundation, a nonprofit agency, coordinates a campaign every May to raise awareness and money.Join organizations like American Senior Communities to help spread the word about these diseases and raise funds for advocacy, treatment and research.You can support this month-long campaign by sharing this blog article with friends and family!

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