Lifestyle: 5 myths about arthritis

Arthritis is common, impacting around one in four adults, so it’s not surprising that some myths about the condition have arisen. It’s important to debunk myths about arthritis so you know how you can prevent it, and how to deal with the condition if you do become diagnosed.

These are some of the most popular myths about arthritis, debunked.

Myth: There’s only one type of arthritis.

Although arthritis is often used as a blanketed term for any joint pain, there are actually over 100 forms of the disease and related diseases.

The most common types include osteoarthritis, where the protective cartilage inside the joint breaks down, rheumatoid arthritis, where the joints and other organs are attacked by the body’s own immune system, and psoriatic arthritis, an autoimmune inflammatory disease in which the immune system attacks the body.

Myth: It only affects seniors.

One of the most common myths about arthritis is that it only occurs at a certain age. But what you might not know is that it really depends on the specific type of arthritis.

Typically, people will experience symptoms of osteoarthritis when they reach 70, but rheumatoid arthritis can occur at any age, though most often in people over 35.

When young adults develop arthritis, it’s frequently referred to as Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis and it affects as many as 300,000 children in the US.

Overall, though, according to the Center for Disease Control, your risk of arthritis increases with each year that you get older.

Myth: You can’t exercise.

The Arthritis Foundation recommends people with most types of arthritis do exercise. You must, however, keep in mind that some exercises are better than others.

Working out can also help prevent arthritis from worsening by helping people to maintain a healthy weight. For example. According to the Center for Disease Control, “People who are overweight or obese are more likely to get knee osteoarthritis than people who are not overweight. Further, having excess weight can make knee osteoarthritis worse and put stress on weight-bearing joints like hips and knees.

So working out regularly to avoid excess weight gain, especially as a method of prevention, can be instrumental in avoiding arthritis.

Myth: Cracking your knuckles leads to arthritis.

Fortunately for those who find themselves thoughtlessly cracking their knuckles throughout the day, that myth is just that: a myth. Really, cracking your knuckles does not lead to arthritis, though it can lead to injury and a weak grip.

Myth: The weather doesn’t really affect arthritic joints.

A study from Tufts University found supporting evidence of the claim that the weather does influence joint pain in individuals with arthritis. According to the study, every 10-degree drop in temperature corresponded with an incremental increase in arthritis pain.

Further, it was found that relatively low barometric pressure, low temperatures, and precipitation can increase pain.

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