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What to know about arthritis symptoms, risk factors and treatment options

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and affects 32.5 million adults in the United States, according to the CDC. Sponsored by EvergreenHealth

Various types of arthritis impact millions of people across the country. Arthritis affects the joints and other areas of the body and causes pain, swelling and stiffness.

“Osteoarthritis is the more the run-of-the-mill ‘wear and tear,’ and it comes from a combination of essentially how hard people are on their joints and also genetics,” said Dr. Avi Goodman, MD - Orthopedics, Sports Medicine, and Orthopedic Surgery.

Typically, osteoarthritis begins developing at the base of the thumb or the top or middle joint of the other fingers. Patients will generally notice that they’re having some swelling and pain in their hand, their hand is starting to look a little different or their joints are shifting. 

Risk factors for developing osteoarthritis include joint overuse, joint injury, family history and obesity.

“Folks who have heavy jobs, like heavy lifting construction, that is definitely a risk factor for developing arthritis,” said Dr. Goodman. “Activity modification, just changing what they’re doing, can help you become less symptomatic, but it doesn’t really change the underlying disease unfortunately.”

Rheumatoid arthritis is another type of arthritis and stems from an autoimmune condition that causes inflammation throughout the body, including in the joints. Common symptoms include painful swelling, sometimes in several joints at once, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, joint deformity and fever. 

While no treatment can reverse the damage of arthritis, some can help relieve symptoms and maintain mobility in the affected joints. Treatment options include home remedies like ice or heat packs, medication and occupational and physical therapy. A splint and injections are often offered before considering surgery, which can be a joint replacement, fusion or other option.

If you think you may be dealing with arthritis, it’s important to see your primary care physician. Your physician will give a physical exam, get information on your family history and likely take X-rays. Your physician may then refer you to an orthopedic practice like EvergreenHealth Orthopedic & Sports Care. 

“We talk with the patients, and we figure out exactly what their goals are, how bad their symptoms are and how we can really help them and get them back to doing what they love,” Dr. Goodman said.

To learn more, visit the Hand & Wrist Care page on EvergreenHealth's website.

Sponsored by EvergreenHealth. Segment Producer Joseph Suttner. Watch New Day Northwest 11 AM weekdays on KING 5 and streaming live on KING5.com. Contact New Day

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