Contributed by: Rachana Arya
Like many other conditions, misconceptions about arthritis persist. Inaccurate information continues to be spread about a common disorder that affects the joints. Let’s dig into this condition and uncover the facts and valid information about arthritis.
Myth #1: Arthritis is an age-related condition
Arthritis is not age-specific. There is no doubt that the risk for arthritis increases as you get older due to the general wear and tear that occurs over time. Yet, arthritis is not a normal part of aging, and older people aren’t the only ones who get arthritis. People of all ages can get arthritis, including children and teens. Likewise, athletes are also are at a greater risk of developing arthritis due to overuse of their joints and sports injuries.
Myth #2: Arthritis is just a normal part of aging
It is true that the odds of having arthritis get higher as you get older. But that does not imply that the condition is the destiny of every aging person. If this were true, the majority of older people and no youth would have arthritis. In reality, 57% of seniors over the age of 65 do not have arthritis. In addition, two-thirds of individuals with arthritis are below 65 years. Furthermore, and arthritis affects children too with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (RA) being one of the most common chronic illnesses of childhood.
Myth #3: Arthritis isn’t a serious condition; it’s just minor aches and pains
Living with chronic arthritis pain should not be trivialized. Many people dismiss the severity of arthritis, downplaying the effect of the condition. But life with arthritis can be much more than the occasional pain and stiffness in the joints. It can harm your joints permanently, making it difficult for you to move around, and prevent you from working or doing the things you enjoy. The following are some of the realities of arthritis:
- Limited range of motion
- Joint deformity
- Functional restrictions
- Joint discomfort and damage
Myth #4: There is nothing much that can be done. You just have to learn to live with arthritis
While there is presently no cure for arthritis, there are many things that can be done to alleviate pain, lessen disability, and enable people to keep doing the things they enjoy. Many kinds of arthritis can be reduced with early diagnosis and appropriate treatment strategies. In addition, lifestyle modifications and self-care habits can help tremendously. Physical exercise, a healthy weight, self-management education, and rehabbing are all important factors that can decrease risk factors or delay the onset of some types.
Myth #5: Exercise worsens arthritis
One of the most effective ways to relieve arthritis pain is to exercise. You may believe that rest is the greatest treatment for swollen and sore joints. However, not using your arthritic joint may aggravate the condition. Regular, sensible physical activity can actually help your arthritis. It can improve the flexibility and strength of the muscles that surround the joint, reducing joint discomfort.
Myth #6: Cracking your knuckles causes arthritis
Don’t worry if you’re a knuckle cracker. That cracking noise is completely harmless. There is no research-backed evidence that depicts the detrimental effects of cracking your knuckles. Knuckle cracking itself does no harm to your joints. More specifically, knuckle cracking does not trigger arthritis nor does not it strain the ligaments, or overextend them enough to cause arthritis. You’re simply expelling gas that has built up around the joints.
Myth #7: More women have arthritis than men
Partially True. Arthritis affects women approximately 3 times more often than men. They are also more prone to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis (RA), one of the most debilitating forms of the condition. Many believe that hormonal difference and genes, causes women to have a higher risk of arthritis. Although women are significantly more likely than men to develop RA, men are more likely to get RA in middle age than in their golden years.
Myth #8: If your joints hurt, it definitely is arthritis
This isn’t correct. Not all joint pain is caused by arthritis, and not every joint discomfort signals the onset of arthritis. Tendinitis, bursitis, and traumas are just a few of the various reasons for discomfort in and around the joints.
Myth #9: You look fine, you must be fine
The duration and intensity of arthritic symptoms vary considerably. Because arthritis is a condition that has periods of symptom fluctuation, with probable flares and remissions, it can be difficult for family and friends of arthritic people to understand why they feel better or worse on any given day. Its inconsistency might even cause some people to believe the disease is “all in the head.” In reality, arthritis is a painful condition that has both good and bad days. Joint discomfort and weariness are more pronounced on some days. To best manage living with arthritis, a balance of rest and movement may be required.
Myth #10: Arthritis is a hopeless disease. You’re doomed
Experts say this myth is especially misleading as it gives you a bleak, hopeless outlook on your condition. It makes you believe that there’s nothing they can do about the condition. That’s not true. Although arthritis might impair physical capacity, good quality of life is still possible. By incorporating lifestyle changes that include exercise and a nutritious, balanced diet, you can reduce the risk of some types of arthritis and slow their progression. It is important that you collaborate with your rheumatologist to find what works best for you and your lifestyle.
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