May is Arthritis Awareness Month

arthritisMay is National Arthritis Awareness Month. Arthritis is a disease that impacts more than 50 million Americans.  That means one in every five adults and 300,000 children are affected by arthritis, making it the number one cause of disability.

Although there are actually more than 100 types of arthritis, there are three main categories: osteo, rheumatoid and psoriatic.  Although the effects can seem similar, they are quite different.

Osteoarthritis

This is the most common form of arthritis.  This arthritis can best be described as resulting from “wear and tear” on joints.  It usually happens with age, but it can also come from joint injuries or obesity, which puts extra stress on your joints.   The cartilage between joints wears away leaving nothing to cushion the joints, and the result is painful movement in the affected joints.   Inflammation is not usually associated with this type of arthritis, but it can happen in some cases.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis can include:

  • Aching in joints
  • Morning stiffness lasting less than one hour
  • Stiffness after periods of rest
  • Full range of motion is limited

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease.   Different from osteoarthritis, RA is caused by the body’s own immune system attacking parts of the body.  RA mainly affects joints but can attack any part of the body including eyes, skin and other organs.  About 20 percent of people who have RA get lumps on their skin called rheumatoid nodules.  No one knows the exact cause of RA, and symptoms are usually more severe than osteoarthritis.

Symptoms of RA can include:

  • Sudden or slow onset
  • Severe pain and stiffness
  • Stiffness and pain lasts for hours at a time
  • Joint swelling
  • Symmetrical pattern, occurring on both sides of the body at the same time
  • Joints may feel warm

Psoriatic Arthritis

People with Psoriatic Arthritis (PA) have inflammation of the skin (psoriasis) and joints (arthritis).  Only 10-30% of people who have psoriasis will develop PA.  PA like RA is an autoimmune disease.  In general, this type of arthritis begins after age 30, and it affects men and women equally.  PA may lie dormant until triggered by another unrelated illness.

Symptoms of PA can include:

  • Swelling of the fingers and toes
  • Pitted and discolored fingernails
  • Skin rashes
  • In some cases, it can also affect joints of the spine
  • Fatigue
  • Eye inflammation

With any type of arthritis, consulting with your doctor is critical to determine the correct course of action for your situation.   Sometimes, over-the-counter medications can be used to help with pain and joint health.   Peaceful Mountain® offers some joint solutions that are natural alternatives such as Joint and Tendon Rescue™ and Joint Rescue Dietary Supplement®.