According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis affects over 50 million Americans and is considered the number one cause of disability in the country. Because so many people are dealing with this disability, it’s important to know all the facts.

Arthritis causes joint pain and other symptoms that include swelling, stiffness, and decreased range of motion. This disease can range from mild to severe and symptoms can come and go. They may also get worse as time goes on which makes it almost impossible to perform simple tasks like climbing stairs.

Being educated about arthritis can help you better understand the condition and deal with it should you begin to experience symptoms. There are many misconceptions regarding arthritis, but it’s important to be as informed as possible. Check out these common myths below.

old people arthritisMyth 1: Only older people get arthritis. While arthritis most commonly affects women and people who are older, anyone can be diagnosed with the condition. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that two-thirds of people who are living with arthritis are younger than 65. Another study found that it affects almost 1 in 250 children.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis which typically appears in older adults. However, other types, such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, can happen at any age.

Myth 2: You have to rest when you have arthritis. Many people believe that if you’re dealing with arthritis, you must be bedridden or get a lot of rest to avoid aggravating the joints further. The truth is, joints affected by arthritis must be moved in order to help them stay healthy. Those dealing with arthritis should follow an exercise program to increase range of motion in the joints and to keep the cartilage healthy.  Depending on the type of arthritis you have, a Physician should be consulted for more specifics regarding how to keep moving safely.

Arthritis xrayMyth 3: You should wait until symptoms get severe to get treatment. You should contact your doctor at the first symptom of arthritis and start treatment as soon as possible. The longer you deal with arthritis, the more damage will be done to your joints. A mild case of arthritis can progress into a severe case if it’s not treated properly right away.  Keep in mind the arthritis is progressive, which means without treatment it almost always worsens over time.

Myth 4: Arthritis can be caused by a poor diet. Diet is not a cause of arthritis and no connections have been found between certain foods causing arthritis. However, a nutritious, well-balanced diet can help prevent arthritis and manage the symptoms associated with arthritis. In addition, being overweight can put excess stress on your joints and cause increased pain and inflammation. Talk to your doctor if you’re looking to develop an eating plan or looking to shed pounds.

Myth 5: Arthritis is untreatable. There is no cure for arthritis, but there are treatment methods that can slow the progression and relieve your symptoms. There are medications that can reduce inflammation and ease tension in your joints which also helps relieve pain.  A comprehensive program will keep you doing the things you enjoy doing.

If you’re dealing with sore joints, don’t wait to talk to your doctor.  He or she will be able to create a treatment plan that’s just right for you and will help you begin feeling better again. Click here to schedule a consultation with Aligned Medical Group.