Mary is a 70-year-old woman that works three jobs in a restaurant. He fingers are all bent and gnarly from years of overuse and arthritis. Carlos Montoya is a classical guitar player who is well within his eighties. Even though he also has arthritis in his fingers, he still is one of the greatest classical guitar players in the world. My mom had arthritis in her spine and knees. Eventually she had both of her knees replaced. I too, have some of it in my knees and fingers.
We are just some of the millions of people around the world who are afflicted with this crippling disease. There are over a hundred different types of arthritis. The most common form is osteoarthritis, which affects mostly the joints. The second most common form is rheumatoid arthritis, which involves a lot of inflammation and may even affect the heart. Another form of the disease is from infection.
According to Medical News Today: “More than 1 in every 5 Americans aged 18+ has been diagnosed with arthritis, the most common cause of disability today, says a CDC report Prevalence of Doctor-Diagnosed Arthritis and Arthritis-Attributable Activity Limitation – United States, 2007-2009”
Arthritis causes pain and stiffness in the joints and is probably the leading condition in the world that requires pain medication to relieve some of the symptoms. It is a multi-billion dollar a year industry. The loss of work and divisibility caused by arthritis costs us $128 billion a year.
Obesity can cause arthritis. Barbara had been overweight all of her life. She topped out at 375 pounds. She had to quit her job working in the diet department of a local hospital because she developed arthritis in her knees so severe that she ended up in a wheelchair.
Arthritis often strikes the elderly. Look at a small child and see how limber he is. As we grow older we lose a lot of that flexibility as the cartilage in our joints grows thin. Arthritis strikes all age groups and all economic levels.
The rates are about the same for college graduates and those who just have a high school diploma. The rates are higher for smokers and ex-smokers than those who have never smoked.
Besides knee and hip replacement and pain medication there isn’t a whole lot that doctors can do about the disease except to tell people to eat a good diet, exercise, and not smoke. There are a number of over-the-counter natural remedies that are claimed to help prevent and treat arthritis, including glucosamine. Glocosamine is supposed to restore some of the lubricating fluid in the joints. Mild to moderate exercise can also delay the onset of arthritis.