Lexington, Ky. (May 14, 2019) – According to the Arthritis Foundation, there are more than 54 million cases of arthritis diagnosed annually and it is the leading cause of disability in the United States. Diagnosing and treating arthritis in its early stages can help alleviate pain and may delay the progression of this disorder. In recognition of Arthritis Awareness Month in May, CHI Saint Joseph Health is recommending people take control of their joint health.
“Diagnosing arthritis early allows you to be proactive in protecting your joints from ongoing pain and permanent damage from uncontrolled inflammation,” said Travis Sizemore, DO, MPH, CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group – Rheumatology. “Some forms of arthritis can cause internal damage to the heart and other organs, thus prompt treatment protects your overall health.”
Arthritis occurs frequently in aging adults and is more common among women than men. Symptoms may include joint swelling and inflammation, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. These symptoms can relapse and remit and range in severity. Some symptoms may persist for years and can worsen if they go untreated.
A physician will diagnose arthritis by first reviewing a patient’s medical history and conducting a physical examination. They may order labs or X-rays to confirm the diagnosis. Diagnosing arthritis, however, isn’t always straightforward as a physician must eliminate other potential sources of pain. In addition, there are more than 100 different forms of arthritis and related conditions, and symptoms alone might not suggest a specific type.
If arthritis is suspected, rheumatologists will advise early and aggressive treatment. To treat arthritis, a physician may prescribe anti-rheumatic medications that can help prevent permanent joint damage. For those with symptoms of an inflammatory type of arthritis, doctors may begin treatment to reduce high levels of inflammation.
“Timing and the correct treatment are the keys to preventing visible joint changes, chronic pain, loss of mobility and decreased joint function from arthritis,” said Dr. Sizemore. “Early and aggressive therapy is especially important for patients to prevent development of a more serious form of this disorder.”
Make a commitment to healthier joints and a better quality of life in observance of Arthritis Awareness Month. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of arthritis or have a family history of arthritis, don’t wait. Visit www.chisaintjosephhealth.org/lexington-rheumatology-care or call 859.313.2255 to make an appointment with a physician today.
About CHI Saint Joseph Health
CHI Saint Joseph Health, part of Catholic Health Initiatives, is one of the largest and most comprehensive health systems in the Commonwealth of Kentucky with 135 locations in 20 counties, including hospitals, physician groups, clinics, primary care centers, specialty institutes and home health agencies. In total, the health system serves patients in 35 counties statewide. CHI Saint Joseph Health is dedicated to building healthier communities by elevating patient care through an integrated physical and behavioral health delivery system. CHI Saint Joseph Health embodies a strong mission and faith-based heritage and works through local partnerships to expand access to care in the communities it serves.
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Mary Branham, Director, Communications