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Jun
14

Physical Therapy & Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Arthritis is a debilitating disease that affects people of all ages. It is also quite common to be affected with arthritis as we age. While there are literally hundreds of types of arthritis, most people are familiar with only of a few types of arthritis that are the most common among us. One of the more well known types of arthritis, which often affects women in particular, is Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis tends to strike women more often than men; especially during the menopausal years. Researchers believe that this type of arthritis is very closely related to the endocrine system which actually regulates hormones. When a woman goes through menopause her estrogen levels decrease drastically. While researchers are unsure exactly what the connection is between the estrogen decrease and Rheumatoid Arthritis being more prominent in women, they feel that there is definitely a connection between the two. However, women who are younger and not in the menopausal stage are three times more likely to be affected by RA than men of the same age. After age 60, the likelihood of being affected by RA is equal between men and women[1].

RA Facts

  • 1.5 million Americans are affected by RA (about 1% of the population)
  • Women tend to be at higher risk for getting RA than men – outnumbering them 3 to 1
  • The average age of women affected by RA is between the ages of 30 and 60
  • When younger teens and children affected with RA it is called juvenile idiopathic arthritis
  • Smoking can increase your risk for RA and is believed to be responsible for 1 out of 5 cases of RA[2]
  • It is a proven fact that exercise is one of the best remedies for RA or any arthritis
  • Obesity can increase a persons risk for RA by 25%[3]
  • RA is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own tissues
  • RA can actually affect body parts other than the joints; such as your eyes, lungs and even your mouth
  • Nobody knows for sure what causes RA but it is thought that it may be caused by genetics, environment, and/or hormone changes
  • African Americans who smoke, double their risk of RA[4]

Recently we have seen a steady and substantial increase in the number of women who are being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis; while at the same time the number of men who are being diagnosed has actually reduced by 0.5 percent. One hypothesis for this increase is the environmental changes we have seen throughout the years. Three environmental factors that researchers feel may play an important part in noSmokingthe increase of women being diagnosed are[5]:

  1. Smoking – while the total number of smokers has actually been steadily declining over the years; researchers say that women are giving up smoking at an older age than men.
  2. Vitamin D Deficiency – with more people avoiding direct sunlight due to the risk factors of skin cancer they are missing out on the natural Vitamin D that comes from the sunlight.
  3. Oral Contraceptives – the newer oral contraceptives tend to have less estrogen in them and, as discussed earlier, researchers feel that decreased estrogen may increase a woman’s risk of RA.

What do all of these facts mean? They mean that more and more women are being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. As more seniors are affected the need to address the chronic pain and discomfort becomes more important. There is no reason to live in pain. GO Physical Therapy & Wellness can address your arthritic pain in a variety of ways. By calling our office you can set up an appointment for one of our certified and trained physical therapists to come to your home. We will then perform an assessment to see what you need in order to help you reduce your pain and feel better by participating in a guided regimen designed specific to your needs. GO PT will work on your range of motion, strengthening muscles to help support your joints better, and help you to decrease your pain. The results of physical therapy will be that you will not only have less pain as you exercise and move more; but, you will also probably sleep better because of that lack of pain.

GO Physical Therapy & Wellness serves the Long Island New York area for all of your physical therapy needs, right in the comfort of your own home. We come to you in order to help you overcome your arthritis pain by determining the origin of your pain and the weaknesses it causes in your body. We have treated many clients that have had a complete change in their lifestyle as they become more flexible, feel less pain, and have an overall better quality of life because of our in home physical therapy. Don’t let RA or any arthritic pain keep you from enjoying life. Call today for an evaluation so that we can design a physical therapy plan specifically for you. Let us treat you right in your own New York home and bring back the quality of life you deserve with the proper physical therapy you need.

 

Dedicated To Your Health & Well-being (and safety),

Mike

 


 

[1] Research Studies by Mitra Pikwer, MD, of Lund University – Lund, Sweden

[2] Swedish Research 2010 – Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases

[3] Mayo Clinic – Arthritis Care and Research

[4] University of Nebraska Study – Arthritis & Rheumatism, byDr. Mikuls

[5] 2010 Study by Dr. Sherine Gabriel, MD – Mayo Clinic – Arthritis & Rheumatism

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