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Arthritis Education

The number of individuals with arthritis or chronic joint pain symptoms in the U.S. is topping 50 million, and growing by about 3 million new sufferers each year.  According to the Arthritis Foundation, more than 47 million Americans suffer from one of the many forms of arthritis, and approximately 355 million people have the disease worldwide.

Baby boomers are now at prime risk, as they are one the largest and fastest-growing populations within the country; and they alone account for almost half of all of those afflicted with chronic joint pain.

Arthritis is one of the most prevalent chronic health problems and the nation’s leading cause of disability among Americans.  It can affect multiple parts of the body, limiting more than 7 million Americans’ participation in everyday activities such as walking, dressing and bathing due to pain, loss of movement, and swelling.

Treating the disease results in 39 million physician visits and more than a half million hospitalizations annually, costing the U.S. economy $128 billion.

Some types of arthritis:

Osteoarthritis, or “wear-and-tear” arthritis, is a degenerative joint disease in which the cartilage that covers the ends of bones in the joint deteriorates, causing pain and loss of movement as bone begins to rub against bone.  It is the most prevalent form of arthritis, and it’s true that many people will develop osteoarthritis as they get older, since it occurs as cartilage in the joints slowly wears down.  The effects of osteoarthritis can be prevented and minimized.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the joint lining becomes inflamed as part of the body’s immune system activity. Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most serious and disabling types, affecting mostly women.

Gout affects mostly men. It is usually the result of a defect in body chemistry. This painful condition most often attacks small joints, especially the big toe. Fortunately, gout almost always can be completely controlled with medication and changes in diet.

Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that affects the spine.  As a result of inflammation, the bones of the spine grow together.

Juvenile arthritis is a general term for all types of arthritis that occur in children. Children may develop juvenile rheumatoid arthritis or childhood forms of lupus, ankylosing spondylitis or other types of arthritis.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus) is a serious disorder that can inflame and damage joints and other connective tissues throughout the body.

Scleroderma is a disease of the body’s connective tissue that causes a thickening and hardening of the skin.

Fibromyalgia is widespread pain affecting the muscles and attachments to the bone.  It affects mostly women.

Half of Americans with arthritis and chronic joint pain don’t think anything can be done to help them.  Some forms of arthritis are curable, however, and almost all forms can be treated to reduce pain and other symptoms and minimize joint damage.  Some examples of curable forms of arthritis include Lyme disease and infectious arthritis, both of which can be treated with antibiotics, and gout, which can be cured with a combination of dietary changes and medication to reduce uric acid levels in the bloodstream.

CarePoint carries a broad line of therapeutic products designed to alleviate chronic joint and back pain and support the areas of one’s body that are the source of one’s diminished ability to lead a more active and pain-free life.  Most of these products are covered by Medicare, Medicaid and commercial insurances when ordered by a physician.

 

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