Older Couple

Living with arthritis can be a painful experience. Not only may you feel physically limited, but it can also contribute to negative emotions. With that in mind, it’s important to know that there are ways to help alleviate the symptoms and better your quality of life.

The key is knowing the truths about arthritis. Often, it’s a misunderstood condition, but the better informed you are, the more equipped you’ll be to get the most out of each day. To help, here’s a rundown on the common myths around the condition, and the facts everyone should know.

What is arthritis?
Did you know that arthritis us one of the most common health conditions in the world? So, to say you’re not alone is an understatement. It affects approximately 10 million people in the UK of all ages, although it usually becomes apparent in people over 40.

So, if you’re 65 or over, you’re certainly not in the minority in suffering from arthritis. If you’re not sure whether you have arthritis or not, some common signs include:

  • Joint stiffness, often in the wrists, hands, and knees
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Swelling or pain in the joints
  • A general sense of onset illness

If you’re concerned about any of these symptoms, the first step is to visit your GP, rheumatologist or orthopaedic specialist. They’ll usually conduct a physical examination and a health evaluation, which will consist of a series of questions. You may also be referred for an X-ray.

Myths on arthritis
Perhaps one of the most unhelpful things around arthritis, are the myths that come hand-in-hand with it. Debunking those and getting clued up on the facts is the fastest route to finding both curable treatments and developing coping methods for day-to-day life.

Here are just some of the most commons myths, and the real picture behind them:

  • It only affects old people – arthritis can affect people of all ages. There are different types of arthritis, some of which are more prevalent in specific groups. But it can affect anyone from children to older people.
  • Wet, cold climates aggravate it – despite the long-standing myth that weather triggers arthritis, it’s actually more about creating warmth, which can be soothing. You can do this with a warm bath or shower. Or even a hot water bottle.
  • Diet affects it – arthritis isn’t a condition caused by poor diet. Likewise, healthy eaters aren’t immune to arthritis. That said, it’s always good to watch your diet and eat well. By looking into different food options, you can modify your diet for the better.
  • It’s curable – Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure for arthritis. That doesn’t mean the picture is bleak, however. There are many ways to manage it to slow the onset and relieve pain.
  • Perceptions of whether you look good, or doomed! – if you have arthritis, you may face opinions on how well you look from others. In truth, sometimes you may look good while suffering from a general feeling of unwellness or fatigue. Or you may be visibly struggling, but that doesn’t mean that solutions aren’t out there.

Taking charge of arthritis
There are changes you can make to your lifestyle to help. Exercise is one useful way to improve arthritis. By finding a specific healthcare professional or a class specialising in arthritis-friendly movements, you can boost your mobility, health, and positivity.

You may also want to look into ways to adapt your home. By creating living spaces that aid you in your daily life, you’ll actively be boosting your independence.

Why we need to debunk the myths
Being informed, sharing your knowledge with those close to you, and finding ways to manage your arthritis are all important steps to improving your quality of life. Continuing to debunk the myths and opinions that come with arthritis is just part of it.

Ultimately, being honest with yourself and others in terms of what support you need, and finding ways to manage arthritis, you can take charge of your situation. In turn, it will increase your independence and boost your self-esteem.