Signs your Loved One is Suffering from Arthritis
May is National Arthritis Awareness Month and here at Cariloop we speak with everyday people who either suffer from it or have a loved one that does. While it varies in severity it can be challenging to deal with on a regular basis and can make even the simplest of tasks impossible. Defined by the Mayo Clinic as “inflammation of one or more of your joints,” arthritis is a condition that affects people of all ages, but especially seniors, and how you treat it can make a substantial difference.
There are two very common types of arthritis; Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis. The difference between the two is that Osteoarthritis is caused by the everyday wear and tear the joints experience. Perhaps your loved one was a great athlete, who grew up challenging their body to the limit every day to perform to his or her potential, or maybe their joints were less durable in general, it can develop no matter the circumstances. Rheumatoid arthritis is different, it is an autoimmune disorder that doesn’t have specific causes to blame, and essentially is the result of the immune system attacking the body’s own tissues.
That all sounds scary, we know, but there are ways to be able to pick up on the signs before it progresses too quickly. Remember, not every case of arthritis is so severe that it inhibits the patient from doing everyday activities, they will have some pain, some much more than others and vice versa.
Here are the signs of arthritis to look out for:
- Age: It is very common for osteoarthritis to come with age, and it usually begins to show around the age of 70. Many of us make the mistake of dismissing aches and pains and say it just comes with age, but it’s important for you to realize that even though it may be because of their age, it is still something that needs to be treated.
- Runs in the family: Like Rheumatoid arthritis, Osteoarthritis can run in the family, especially if your bloodlines have a history of joint defects. You may not know of any members of your family that have it, but if you begin to realize that your loved one is complaining about joint pain, one thing you can do is check the family history to help you narrow down the issue and then present it to the doctor.
- Previous injuries flaring up: No matter when they had an injury, whether it was years ago in their past, or recently after an unfortunate tumble, arthritis can develop where the injuries occurred. This is the case especially if they suffered torn cartilage, dislocated joints or ligament injuries. They may have been healed but there is always a chance of the injuries getting irritated after certain events or activities.
- Weight: Unfortunately, many of us think it’s okay to let our senior loved ones eat whatever they want because you just don’t want to tell them otherwise and risk them getting upset. You want them to be able to feel like they still have their independence and can make their own decisions, but when it comes to their health, you have to put your foot down. So if your loved one is complaining about how their knees are hurting while they’re walking, or any other joints for that matter, and they’re overweight, it’s a great chance that their diet is hurting their joints because of the pressure from carrying all of the excess weight.
- Exhaustion: If your loved one is usually someone that has a great amount of energy, always wanting to play with the grandkids and participate in activities, but has suddenly avoided doing such things, they may be experiencing early signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis. If the fatigue continues to affect them, you shouldn’t dismiss it because of their age but rather take them to the doctor as soon as you can.
- Pain and join stiffness: Usually beginning with stiffness and pain in the hands, Rheumatoid arthritis can occur at any time of the day, whether the person is doing something to aggravate it or just relaxing in their favorite chair. If they complain of the pain being sudden, sharp and lasting for long periods at a time, they need to go in for an appointment.
- Swollen joints: Due to the immune system attacking the body’s tissues, it is common for the joints, especially in the hands and knees, to become inflamed and swollen. They begin to feel warm and the swelling can last for anywhere from a day or two to even multiple weeks.
- Numb and tingling feeling: When the inflammation occurs, it negatively affects a person’s nerves because of the pressure the swollen tendons put on them. As a result, the joints and the body parts around them begin to feel numb, and they feel like they have pins and needles for long period of time.
The aforementioned signs are just a few of the many that can help you detect the arthritis before it gets too painful. A visit to the doctor is the best thing you could do for your loved one, they’ll most likely receive treatment and be told to wear braces that help ease the pain and swelling.