May is Arthritis Awareness Month, often called an “invisible disease” arthritis affects 53 million adults and 300,000 children alone in the United States. Often affecting all parts of the body, arthritis can cause severe and chronic pain from the back and neck to knees and ankles. Despite how common it is there are many misunderstandings about the disease, so in honor of Arthritis Awareness Month we’re sharing 3 things many people often don’t know about arthritis.
1.) Arthritis affects people of all ages – While many people may think of arthritis as only affecting older people, more than two-thirds of Americans with arthritis are under the age of 65. Like we mentioned above this includes more than 300,000 children who are diagnosed with juvenile arthritis. If you’re feeling the typical symptoms such as pain, swelling or stiffness in your joints don’t dismiss them just because you think you are too young.
2.) Arthritis can affect every part of your body – From head to toe every joint in your body is capable of developing arthritis. Because of this, it’s important to take certain precautions to protect your entire body. For example, for everyone who works at a desk on a computer all day, try using a document holder that attaches to computer monitors and are at eye-level to reduce neck strain.
3.) Smoking is a major risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis – Studies again and again have shown the negative affects of smoking on the body and your overall health. Now scientists have found that the toxins in cigarette smoke can alter the immune functions, which results in an even worse prognosis and increase the chance of developing RA.
If you have symptoms such as pain, swelling or stiffness in one or more joints or joint tenderness these are potential warning signs of arthritis.