Are you feeling stiff in the mornings? Do your joints ache more than they used to? Have you noticed inflammation in your hands, feet or back? These are all symptoms of arthritis.
Arthritis means ‘joint inflammation’, and in Australia, almost one in five people suffer with the condition. There are many different types of arthritis, but two of the most common types are Osteoarthritis, which is when the tissue inside the joints breakdown, and Rheumatoid arthritis, which occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the joints.
Arthritis causes your joints to feel swollen and stiff, which can be very painful. The most commonly affected joints tend to be in the hands, knees, hips and spine, however it can develop anywhere in the body. Although symptoms of arthritis varies from person to person, some of the most common symptoms include:
- Pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints, particularly in the mornings, after physical activity (although exercise treatment under professional guidance is advised) and partaking in general daily tasks such as housework;
- Joints may become inflamed, hot and tender to touch;
- Experiencing muscle tension.
There is a misconception that arthritis is a normal part of ageing, however, not everyone will develop the condition during their senior years. So, what is the link between arthritis and ageing? I hear you ask.
Although obesity, muscle and joint overuse and genetics can all pay a part in increasing the risk of arthritis, the chances of developing arthritis increases with age, simply because seniors have used their joints more. The general wear and tear that daily life activities leave on our bodies eventually take their toll on the tissue surrounding the joints. In fact, arthritis is the most common joint problem among seniors.
Studies have shown women are three times more likely to be affected by arthritis than men, although arthritis can affect anyone at any age. If you suspect arthritis in either yourself or a loved one, it is important to get a professional diagnosis from your medical practitioner and rule out any other possible health issues that could be causing the symptoms.
Although there is no cure for arthritis, there is help and caring to assist patients in maintaining their mobility and live a fulfilling life. With the right support, planning and treatment, it is more than possible to lead a normal, independent life with arthritis and stay active and healthy. If you would like more information on arthritis and ageing, you can download Home Instead Senior Care’s Caring and Arthritis guide – practical advice for carers and people living with arthritis.
Alternatively, you can speak to one of our friendly care team about how a Home Instead CAREGiver can support you or a loved one with coping with arthritis. Please contact us on 07 3703 3100.