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Living with Arthritis 
 
by Jean Bailey Robor August 11, 2005

Arthritis at Home

Talk to your doctor about creating an exercise program you can follow. Exercise can help you maintain and gain muscle strength. You may have noticed that stress aggravates your arthritis. Chill out by listening to soothing music, going for a short walk, or taking deep breaths. Find a hobby that is enjoyable. Maybe your way of relaxing is reading or journaling. Whatever lowers your stress level is what’s right for you. Stretching, strengthening, and conditioning exercises may help to reduce pain and improve joint function. Swimming is an excellent exercise if you have problems with joints in your lower extremities. For other joint problems, bicycling and walking are good conditioning exercises.

Arthritis at Work

Have you ever felt you were too much in pain to perform your duties at work due to your arthritis? If so, you are not alone. Many people all over the country face that situation everyday. Some miss work because of it. Only you know the activities that aggravate your arthritis. Pay attention and make note of them. It’s possible that you can make simple adjustments to alleviate your arthritis pain at work. Maybe you can rearrange your work space to prevent as much lifting and reaching. It never hurts to take short breaks throughout the day to simply stretch out your limbs. Also, don’t hesitate to talk to your health care professional about your concerns. He may be able to give you some suggestions to help make your work space more comfortable.

Whether you suffer from arthritis or not, these simple changes can make your work day more pleasant.

Statistics

Nearly 70 million people in the United States are affected by arthritis or joint pain. More than two million are affected by rheumatoid arthritis. That’s approximately 1% of the American population. The disease is twice as common in women as in men. Usually it begins between the ages of 30 to 50, although it can develop at any time. RA sufferers have a 70% chance of developing joint damage within the first two years of the disease. Twenty million people in the United States are managing osteoarthritis at any given time. Eleven percent are in nursing homes or similar institutions. Osteoarthritis usually begins in people when they are in their late 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s. It is rare that it affects anyone younger. It is more common and more severe in women.

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