Tin Man Squeaks

dogarthritis

 I’m still surprised at the amount of money people spend on their pets.  As a dog lover myself, and as a shrink, I totally understand how great the bond and love is that develops between our pets and us.  Just last week a close friend told me how a pack of coyotes aggressively approached her while hiking and her Siberian ran them off!  But this article isn’t about our relationships with our pets, it’s actually about ARTHRITIS.

 

So what’s the connection?

 

It is estimated that people spend billions of dollars each year treating their dogs and cats medically.  Over $1,000,000,000 is spent each year on supplements such as Glucosamine / Chondroitin to treat or prevent arthritis.  Concerned owners visit the vet many times each year, restrict their pet’s running without hesitation, implement “doggy exercises,” get them massages and change both their and their pet’s lifestyle to help ensure they don’t suffer pain or disability.  There’s even pet PT now to address these conditions and as a last resort, orthopedic surgery.  But what do people do to take care of themselves and prevent or effectively treat their OWN arthritis?

 

Arthritis affects 67 million adults, or almost 1 in every 4 adults while an estimated 300,000 children have juvenile arthritis.  In its mildest form, arthritis can make getting out of bed in the morning just a bit more effortful.  In the worst case, it can permanently disable someone, prevent them from using their hands or from walking, and can even lead to being bedridden.

 

There are a number of different types of arthritis.  We’re going to address the two most common that affect LEOs: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.  For more information on Juvenile Arthritis which affects around 300,000 kids and their families, click here and for information on Psoriatic Arthritis, which affects joints and skin, click here.

Even though most arthritis doesn’t tend to affect people until middle age, there are ways to reduce, if not sometimes prevent, developing severe arthritic conditions while you are still under the age of 40.

 

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Osteoarthritis (OA)
WHO’S AFFECTED 1.5 million Americans have RA;
3 times as many women as men develop it.
27 million Americans have OA; genetics also plays a factor but obesity, increasing age and weak muscles are also risk factors. Previous joint injury also contributes.
WHAT CAUSES IT RA is an autoimmune disease; that means that the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks your joints. This attack causes inflammation and damage. When cartilage in your knees or other joints breaks down, you can have bone-on-bone contact. This rubbing can cause serious bone damage and a host of symptoms.

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HOW TO PREVENT IT You should know your family history– autoimmune disease often runs in families.
• Seek medical assistance as early as possible if you have symptoms
• Maintain a healthy weight
• Stretch and exercise
Unlike rheumatoid arthritis there are a couple of key things you can do to prevent or at least reduce your risk of OA these include:
• Maintain a healthy weight
• Exercise regularly
• RICE injuries immediately
51 Ways to Be Good to Your Joints
WHEN TO SEEK HELP Symptoms can vary greatly from person to person and from day to day. The wrist and hand are most often affected. Typically symptoms include:
• Joint pain & heat
• Inflammation (swelling)
• Stiffness (esp. in the a.m.)
OA symptoms usually develop slowly. Here’s what to look for and when at all concerned contact your doctor:
• Sore or stiff joints, after inactivity or overuse
• Stiffness following rest that goes away with movement
• Pain worse after activity
TREATMENTS There are a number of medications available to reduce inflammation and pain. Physical therapy and exercises can also help reduce the effects of RA. In severe cases surgery might be an option. Medications can help with pain. Massage and acupuncture can also help reduce pain. OTC capsaicin creams and heating pads can help. There are numerous surgical options as well.
FOR MORE INFORMATION arthritisfound

 Take GOOD care of your pets.    Take even BETTER CARE of YOURSELF!

 

For information on how you can adopt a wonderful companion, click on the image below.
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