The number of specific conditions that fall under the umbrella label of “arthritis” is surprising: More than 100 different conditions are different types of arthritis. By far, the most well-known form of the disease is osteoarthritis—archeologists have found evidence that even Neanderthals and ancient Romans dealt with osteoarthritis.
Dr. Louis Keppler and his team at Dr. Louis Keppler and Associates often educate their patients with arthritis about the different ways their disease can change their lives. Depending on whether you have osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or one of the many other joint diseases, you can be sure it will have an impact on your overall health.
The most common type of arthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, and it’s what most people think of when they hear the word arthritis. Sometimes people call it “wear-and-tear” arthritis because it develops over time, and is largely caused simply by using your joint.
The cartilage in your joints begins to break down, allowing the bones to rub against each other. The result of that degeneration is pain, stiffness, and swelling. There are treatments that can slow the progression of the deterioration, but there’s no cure to stop it.
Osteoarthritis can make exercise difficult, so it’s possible to gain weight, which, in turn, can make your joint pain worse. A carefully planned exercise program is one of the best ways you can manage osteoarthritis. Our staff is happy to help you develop an exercise program that works for you or to refer you to physical therapy where you can learn safe ways to exercise.
Researchers have also identified a link between osteoarthritis and cardiovascular disease. Osteoarthritis isn’t generally considered an inflammatory disease; however, inflammation is involved. Chronic inflammation is one of the underlying causes of heart disease.
Age is a risk factor for both arthritis and cardiovascular disease, as well, so as you age, you’re more likely to develop one or both conditions. It’s important to understand what you can do to manage your health as you age to help mitigate those risks.
Having a chronic disease can lead to mental health issues. For example, if you’re in pain to the extent you can’t socialize with your friends, exercise, you generally feel limited, you may well become depressed. For some people, the realization they have a serious health condition can cause anxiety and depression.
It’s important to acknowledge mental health challenges, and to talk to your doctor. You may need short-term treatment or counseling. There may be options of which you aren’t aware, like support groups.
Some arthritis patients develop insomnia, and poor quality sleep or lack of sleep can cause serious health consequences. Although it may seem like the pain of arthritis would be the main culprit in causing poor sleep, researchers are beginning to find evidence that poor sleep leads to experiencing worse pain.
If your sleep patterns are disrupted because of arthritis, discuss it with your doctor. In some instances, medication can be contributing to the issue. You may need to be screened for other contributing factors, like sleep apnea, as well.
Other types of arthritis can lead to other kinds of health issues. For example, inflammatory forms of joint disease, like rheumatoid arthritis, can affect your health in other ways such as causing unexplained weight loss or exhaustion.
It’s crucial to work with a team of qualified healthcare professionals when you have arthritis. The providers at Dr. Louis Keppler and Associates want you to enjoy the best health you can, regardless of what conditions you may have. When you schedule an appointment, you can expect thorough care, along with advice designed to work in the context of your life.