Arthritis is a condition that causes one or more of your joints to swell and ache. It affects 24% of U.S. adults or more than 58 million men and women.  That’s a huge number of people dealing with the condition!
To help spread more awareness about arthritis, the month of May is named National Arthritis Awareness Month.
Why is it important?
Arthritis is one of the most common health conditions in Americans that can affect both adults and children. It is the main cause of work disability in the U.S. It comes in many different types. The most prevalent types include osteoarthritis, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis.
People with this condition experience intense pain and stiffness in their joints. And the pain worsens as one grows older.
Observing the National Arthritis Awareness Month every May helps shed light on the impact of arthritis on a person’s life. It is a good reminder for Americans to get moving. It helps spread advocacy and awareness of the different types of arthritis, and how to manage them.
According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, it is recommended that adults should do muscle-strengthening activities at least two times a week. Adults should also get at least 2 and a half hours of moderate aerobic activity such as brisk walking. Doing these physical exercises can help prevent you from developing arthritis symptoms.
Demystifying the myths about arthritis
Since it’s Arthritis Awareness Month, it’s a great time to learn about this condition and debunk common misconceptions about it. Here are a few common myths about arthritis. Let’s find out if there’s any truth behind them.
- Myth: Arthritis only happens to elderly people. – While arthritis is more common in the elderly population, it can also affect people of all ages. 
- Myth: All joint pain is arthritis. – There are many causes of joint pain such as injury or inflammation. So, if you are suffering from one, it does not necessarily mean that you have arthritis. It’s best to immediately visit your doctor if you are experiencing any joint pain.
- Myth: People with this condition should avoid exercising. – Because having joint pain limits people from doing tasks, they think that it’s better to avoid being active altogether. However, according to the American College of Rheumatology, exercising and staying active help improve pain symptoms and day-to-day function. To ensure that you are doing the right and safe exercises, talk with your doctor to ask him for his recommendations.
- Myth: Arthritis cannot be prevented. – You may not able to control your genes or age, but there are other risk factors for arthritis that you can definitely control that would prevent or delay its symptoms. For example, you can control your lifestyle and habits. Since obesity is linked to knee OA, you can choose to eat healthy foods to maintain the right BMI. If you are into sports, protect yourself from joint injuries by doing special exercises.
- Myth: There’s nothing you can do after being diagnosed with it. – There is no cure for arthritis, but there are definitely things that you can do to maintain your quality of life. Taking medications along with a healthy lifestyle is great for managing your symptoms. Alternative treatment such as acupuncture for arthritis also helps with the pain.
If you are interested in exploring the benefits of acupuncture, Irvine Meridian Health can direct you. Visit our office or call us today to get started!
Ways to Observe National Arthritis Awareness Month
During the month of May, there are many events taking place in communities in support of arthritis awareness. Here are some ways how you can observe and choose to participate:
1. Join events that support arthritis awareness
Cities hold Arthritis Walk events or fun runs. There are short courses for people who are unable to walk long distances. There are also 5km distances or other marathons open for experienced runners.
Simply inviting your family and friends to these non-competitive events can already help raise awareness about the condition. Whether you are walking for yourself or in support of someone you love, joining the activities is a great way to bond with others while supporting the cause. In addition, these events help raise funds that expand research to learn more about arthritis.
If you are interested in joining these arthritis awareness events, here are some sites you can check to find out if an event is happening near you:
Racing for a Cure
The Racing for a Cure event is open to everyone who wants to show their support in funding arthritis research. The donations and funds raised from the event will go towards expanding research to find a cure for arthritis and related autoimmune diseases. It will benefit the Arthritis National Research Foundation (ANRF). Find out more here.
Walk to Cure Arthritis
The Arthritis Foundation holds an annual walk for individuals and teams to participate in support of arthritis research. Find an event near you!
2. Attend Arthritis talks
During May, there are likely to be more talks about arthritis nationwide. There are annual meetings conducted by different organizations such as the American College of Rheumatology. You may check your local college or university if there are conferences to be held near you. You may also check online for any virtual conferences.
3. Consider making a donation
There are many charities and foundations that work toward finding a cure for arthritis. For example, the Arthritis Foundation allows you to donate to research aside from holding the annual Walk to Cure Arthritis activity. If you’re interested, you can donate here.
4. Share your experiences
If you or your loved ones are living with arthritis, you can help spread awareness by sharing your experiences in your social groups. Living with arthritis can be difficult, but knowing that there are others who undergo the same things somehow makes it easier to manage the condition.
5. Commit yourself to healthier habits
During Arthritis Awareness Month, it is the perfect time to commit yourself to healthier habits. Arthritis may be a lifelong disease, but its symptoms can be managed with the right intervention.
Here are some things you can do according to the CDC:
- Be more physical – You can stick to a daily walking routine, engage in moderate sports, and generally just try to be more active. Being more physical can help reduce your pain and stiffness. To add, exercising helps improve your mood and clears your mind.
- Aim for healthy body weight – Eating healthy to maintain the right weight for you can reduce your risk of osteoarthritis.
- Join education programs – If you are interested, the CDC has listed several self-management education workshops to help you gain the right skills in managing chronic conditions like arthritis.
Arthritis should not stop you from living your daily life. If you are suffering from symptoms, Irvine Meridian Health Center has acupuncture for arthritis to help alleviate your pain.
Call us for your consultation!
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