Waushara County Health News

Facts on Arthritis

 

As many people know, Arthritis is the swelling in your joints that comes and goes, pain that limits your daily activities, stiffness that makes it difficult to walk, decreased range of motion, and permanent joint damage that limits your ability to work.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis affects 25 percent of the population in Wisconsin. That means 1,104,000 people in Wisconsin have been diagnosed with one of the 100 different types of arthritis. Arthritis is also the leading cause of disability in the United States, with over 172 million work days lost per year, due to this condition.

 

Although acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications can help manage pain, non-pharmaceutical measures have shown additional benefit to those affected by arthritis. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Physical activity decreases pain and improves function by almost 40 percent and self-management education interventions produce improvements in a person’s confidence and skills to manage their arthritis and can reduce pain, fatigue, and depression by 10-20 percent.

The American College of Rheumatology encourages a regimen that includes four types of exercises. Flexibility Exercises (range of motion, stretching) help to maintain and improve the flexibility in joints and muscles. Strengthening Exercises (weight lifting) make muscles stronger to provide better joint support. Aerobic Exercises (walking and biking) improve heart, lungs, and muscle function. Body Awareness Exercises (yoga, tai chi) work on improving posture, balance, coordination.

Try to develop an exercise plan that works for you. Set realistic goals and reward yourself when they are achieved. Discuss your exercise program with your specialist on a regular basis. It is also important to be aware of your arthritis symptoms and know when your body may need more rest and less exercise.

Here are two types of evidenced based programs to provide self-management education for those with arthritis:

Living Well with Chronic Conditions is a six week course that develops skills needed in the day-to-day management of any chronic disease. For course availability, contact Aging & Disability Resource Center 1-877-883-5378 or Amanda Kutcher, Health Promotion Coordinator at 920-787-6666.

 

The Arthritis Foundation Self Help Course includes six sessions designed to provide knowledge on arthritis diagnosis and management. For additional information, programs and availability contact the Arthritis Foundation Wisconsin Chapter at 1-800-242-9945 or www.arthritis.org.