Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Nebraska DHHS: Arthritis Awareness Month

Yesterday's email from Nebraska DHHS provided a news release announcing Arthritis Awareness Month.

According to the CDC: "From 2013–2015, an estimated 58.5 million US adults (22.7%) annually had ever been told by a doctor that they had some form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia.. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis." The Nebraska DHHS reports: "Approximately 345,000 Nebraskans are living with arthritis, and 2,000 are children."

The CDC mentions on their webpage "Arthritis in Rural America," that more adults in rural areas are affected by arthritis (nearly one in three) than in urban areas. These adults are more likely to be limited by their arthritis (more than 50%). The limitations can include difficulties with moving and performing daily tasks, socializing and working.

The risk factors that people can control are obesity which can precipitate knee OA. It also affects other weight bearing joints such as the hips. Some joints may be infected with bacteria or viruses resulting in joints that are swollen, warm, red and painful. Repetitive stress can damage a joint and contribute to the development of osteoarthritis. the capital OA Alliance has exercises and other strategies designed to protect the joints.

Smoking can also have an impact in that it makes it difficult to maintain physical activity an important part of managing rheumatoid arthritis and other kinds of arthritis.

Arthritis risk increases with aging: "two-thirds of people in Nebraska with arthritis are under age 65," according to the Arthritis Foundation Nebraska. Most types of arthritis are more common in women including OA, RA, and fibromyalgia. Gout is a disease resulting from the excess deposition of urate crystals in the joints and is more common in men. There is a genetic component for arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The genetic complement could also results and the worst case of arthritis.

More information about arthritis and preventive care could be found at The offer an iPhone app for pain management called VIM, which I downloaded and will evaluate.

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