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You May Already Have Arthritis and Not Know It

Swollen joints, stiff knees, sore wrists–when you’re in your mid-thirties to late forties, the thought that these symptoms could be arthritis would barely even cross your mind. After all, isn’t arthritis an elderly person’s disease?

A new study however suggests that a much higher number of people, specifically those in their middle age, could already be suffering from this condition and not know it. In fact, a recent study says that simply relying on doctor-diagnosed arthritis data could mean that current statistics aren’t showing the real incidence of the disease—especially among younger age groups who tend to dismiss the symptoms as common aches and pains.

Current Statistics

Right now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report about 54 million adults with doctor-diagnosed arthritis. If the new research is taken into consideration, this number could jump significantly to 91 million adults—and that’s just including the 45-64 age group.

Looking further into this, the Wall Street Journal sought out Charles Helmick, who currently leads the CDC’s arthritis program. And while he declines to comment regarding the study, he does stand by organization’s research methods. According to Helmick, joint pain doesn’t necessarily translate to arthritis and a doctor’s diagnosis is “a better measure of true arthritis.”

Better Care

While leading research groups discuss the merits of this new study, the importance of recognizing arthritis as a debilitating condition that is the leading cause of disability and joint-replacement surgery is more apparent than ever.

Often, its impact is dismissed simply because arthritis isn’t a killer disease. But you can’t deny the massive toll it takes on quality of life. It’s not uncommon for arthritis sufferers to lose their ability to work, for instance; or to find themselves unable to complete simple household chores.

That said, news of more undiagnosed or misdiagnosed cases of arthritis should definitely bring more focus to the fact that symptoms should never be ignored—especially once it starts to affect movement, activity and function.

You can read more about the study here.  

In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about how you can manage arthritis, feel free to visit our blog. Some handy topics to start with–

On managing your symptoms:

On understanding your condition:

On finding others who know what you’re going through:

On being a young person suffering from arthritis:

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