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What You Need to Know About Living With Arthritis

 

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is an inflammation of a joint, or the place where two bones meet (like your elbow). This inflammation usually comes with the feeling of pain, stiffness and swelling.


Do I Have Arthritis?

Pain is the way your body tells you that something is wrong. Most types of arthritis cause pain in your joints. You might have trouble moving around. Some kinds of arthritis can affect different parts of your body. So, along with pain in your joints, you may:

have a fever

lose weight

have trouble breathing

get a rash or itch.

It is important to know that these symptoms may also be signs of other illnesses. You need to see your doctor to make sure you know what is going on.


What Can I Do?

Go see a doctor. Although there are many Over-The-Counter (OTC) and herbal medications that people use to relieve pain they think is caused by Arthritis, it is important to consult your physician to ensure proper diagnosis. Only a doctor can tell if you have Arthritis or a related condition and how to treat it. If you are taking OTC medications, tell your doctor to make sure there are no interactions with your other medications.


How Should I Use Arthritis Medicine?

Before you leave the doctor’s office, make sure you ask about the best way to take the medicine the doctor prescribes. For example, you may need to take some medicines with milk, or you may need to eat something just before or after taking them, to make sure they don’t upset your stomach. You should also ask how often to take the medicine or to put cream on the spots that bother you. Creams might make your skin and joints feel better. Sometimes, though, they can make your skin burn or break out in a rash. If this happens, call the doctor.


You Can Feel Better!

Arthritis can damage your joints, internal organs, and skin. There are things you can do to keep the damage from getting worse. They might also make you feel better:

Try to keep your weight down. Too much weight can make your knees and hips hurt.

Exercise. Moving all of your joints will help you. The doctor or nurse can show you how to move more easily. Going for a walk every day will help, too.

Take your medicines when and how you are supposed to. They can help reduce pain and stiffness.

Try taking a warm shower in the morning.

See your doctor regularly.

Seek information that can help you.


Source: National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Arthritis and Muskuloskeletal Diseases, http://www.niams.nih.gov

Resources

 

For more information about Arthritis, listed below are resources available to you:

 

Arthritis Foundation
1-888-283-7800

National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Arthritis and Muskuloskeletal Diseases

CenterLight Health System
1-888-238-4223
info@centerlight.org

 

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