(BLACK PR WIRE) (February 22, 2009) No one wants to get arthritis. After all, who would look forward to stiffness, pain and joint swelling? The good news is that there are ways to manage it, as long as you make it a point to work with your doctor to reduce swelling in your joints.
Many may not know that arthritis applies to more than 100 different diseases that affect the joints and tissues around the joints. Some of these diseases can also affect other parts of the body, including the skin and internal organs. The severity of arthritis affects each person differently on a daily basis. Yet, the impact of the disease is astounding.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, forty-three million Americans have arthritis or a related condition, but nearly 4 million of them are African Americans; arthritis is one of the most common conditions reported among African Americans – more common than heart disease, chronic bronchitis, asthma and diabetes; and after age 35, African American women report a higher rate of arthritis than Caucasian women.
Research from the Arthritis Foundation also shows that Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in African Americans, although it affects all races in similar frequency. However, gout and lupus affect African Americans more than people of other races.
"Two hundred and fifty thousand people have been diagnosed with lupus, and early detection and treatment of the disease is the first step toward coping with the disease," said John H. Klippel, M.D., medical director for the Arthritis Foundation. "If someone thinks they may have the disease, it's more important for them to first speak with their primary care physician, who will often refer them to a rheumatologist for a more accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment."
Speaking with your doctor is the key to reducing the impact of arthritis. Stiffness or swelling in or around a joint for two weeks or longer is an early sign of arthritis, and a warning to see your doctor. Early medical care and a treatment plan can make a significant difference in how arthritis affects your daily activities. So, managing arthritis is possible, as long as you make it a point to consult with your doctor to reduce swelling in your joints. Arthritis does not have to be a pain!