How Arthritis Affects Your Overall Health

How Arthritis Affects Your Overall Health

According to findings released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 55 million adults in the United States have arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the leading form of the disease, but psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus are also common types. Though all forms of arthritis affect your joints, other aspects of your overall health can be impacted as well. 

The skilled providers at Rheumatology Solutions offer treatment for numerous forms of arthritis, including psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, osteoarthritis, and more. There is no cure for any form of arthritis, but there are ways to treat your symptoms and to slow disease progression. In this post, we explore some of the health impacts of arthritis. 

Osteoarthritis

The Arthritis Foundation reports that research has linked osteoarthritis (OA) to cardiovascular disease. The association is stronger when certain joints are affected, such as your knees or hips. Taking extra steps to protect your heart health if you have osteoarthritis can help. 

Regular exercise can improve both the symptoms of OA and can help your heart stay healthy. Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is another important way to protect your joints and your heart. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may lessen the pain associated with arthritis, but those same drugs may increase your risk of heart problems. You may want to discuss alternatives with your doctor. 

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease, and though it commonly causes joint pain and damage, it can also cause your skin to harden, make your fingers red and painful, and cause chronic dry mouth and dry eyes, among other symptoms. It also increases your risk of osteoporosis.

Although lifestyle interventions such as excellent nutrition and regular exercise can help, early diagnosis and treatment can have an enormous impact in lessening your symptoms and slowing the progression of rheumatoid arthritis. Learning interventions to help you manage daily activities can also help make life a little more manageable. 

Psoriatic arthritis

Numerous conditions have been linked to psoriatic arthritis, including, of course, psoriasis. Researchers don’t understand exactly why some conditions are associated with psoriatic arthritis, but the fact your risk is raised is clear. 

Cancer and cardiovascular disease are two of the most serious conditions associated with psoriatic arthritis. It’s important to have screenings as recommended by your doctor. You can also mitigate your risk by limiting exposure to environmental factors, eating a nutritious diet, and maintaining a healthy weight. 

Crohn’s disease, depression, and diabetes are other serious conditions that tend to occur more in people with psoriatic arthritis than in the general population. Again, regular visits with your doctor are key in preventing these diseases. 

Several other conditions are common in people with psoriatic arthritis. The common link among all these conditions may be inflammation. Sometimes the drugs used to treat psoriatic arthritis are implicated. Regardless of the reasons for the link, it’s particularly important to have regular doctor appointments and all recommended screenings.

Lupus

Lupus, like rheumatoid arthritis, is an autoimmune condition. Your body’s immune system begins to mistake your own tissues as a potential invader like an infection or virus. Lupus affects people in different ways. 

Your cardiovascular system can be vulnerable when you have lupus. According to Johns Hopkins Lupus Center, more people who have systemic lupus die from cardiovascular disease than anything else. A good diet, regular exercise, and regular screenings are important in maintaining good heart health. 

Your kidneys, lungs, skin, and nervous system can all be affected by lupus. Lifestyle changes along with regular medical care are your best weapons in your fight against the health impacts of lupus. 

Personalized care

This post barely skims the surface of the potential health impacts of arthritis. How your health might be affected depends on the type of arthritis you have, your genetics and lifestyle, the treatments you use to ease the symptoms of arthritis, and many other factors. 

At Rheumatology Solutions, our providers provide a treatment plan that’s based on your individual situation. We work to develop a relationship with you and an understanding of your circumstances. If you have concerns about the ways arthritis might affect your overall health, schedule an appointment today. 

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