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Arthritis is a great weather predictor. That's about the only good thing you can say about it. Forty six million Americans, or one in five people, have been told by their doctor that they have arthritis. More than 100 diseases and conditions collectively are known as arthritis. The most common forms include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, bursitis, lupus and gout. The cause of most types is unknown.

The most common type is osteoarthritis. It is sometimes called "everyday" or "wear and tear" arthritis. A material called cartilage covers the end of each bone and acts as shock-absorbing cushion. In osteoarthritis, cartilage breaks down and the loss of the cushion causes bone to rub against bone leading to pain, stiffness and swelling in the knee, hip, spine, feet, thumb or fingers.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an abnormality in the body's immune system that causes inflammation of the lining of the joint leading to warmth, tenderness, swelling and/or stiffness in the joints. It occurs more often in women.

Fibromyalgia does not affect joints but instead is a condition that involves pain in the muscles and soft tissue. It causes widespread pain, fatigue, memory difficulties, disturbed sleep and pain at distinct tender points.

Many different drugs are used to treat arthritis. The ones you take will depend on the type of arthritis that you have. Some medications are available without a prescription, but others must be prescribed by your doctor.

Being physically active every day can help to keep you moving and independent. People should try to exercise about 30 minutes per day in addition to their everyday activities. Both walking and water exercise are recommended by the Arthritis Foundation. At Kingston Residence, we take our residents to enjoy the warm water therapy pool at our sister community, Kingston Care Center. The water temperature is 95 degrees and the buoyancy of the water makes gentle aquatic exercise ever so easy on the joints. This relieves stiffness and everyone returns feeling revitalized.

Kingston supports the Arthritis Foundation by participating in their annual Arthritis Walk which will be held on Sunday, May 15th at Franke Park at 1:00 p.m. We welcome anyone in the community to join us as we champion this worthwhile cause. The Arthritis Foundation and Parkview also partner to offer an Arthritis and Fibromyalgia Support Group that meets at the Parkview Women's Health Center the third Tuesday of every month. Please call 415-7741 for more information on the Walk, the Support Groups or for resource materials.


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