National Geographic : 1951 Oct
Can you answer these questions about ARTHRITIS? i.. W Oii Ci s? A. Arthritis is the term applied to many different diseases affecting the joints of the body. All of the ar thritic diseases are characterized by inflammation or swelling of the joints, but these conditions differ widely as to causes, symptoms, and the kind of treatment required. In its various forms, arthritis affects more than 3 million Americans. In fact, it is a leading cause of chronic illness in our country today. 2Q() W ate wtat Casnun . A. Of all types of arthritis, the chronic forms, osteoarthritisand rheumatoidarthritis, are by far the most common. Osteoarthritis is pri marily the result of aging, or normal wear-and-tear on the joints. It rarely develops before age 40 and it sel dom causes severe crippling. Rheu matoid arthritis is a much more serious disorder. It usually strikes between the ages of 20 and 50, and unless it is properly treated the joints may become permanently damaged. 3.Q . AJt caaL n4tLKwfAt4 i A. Although the exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, a variety of factors are involved in its onset. In this condition, there is usually evidence of disease of the entire system-such as loss of weight, fatigue, anemia, infection, emotional strain, and nutritional deficiencies. Since many factors may be involved, doctors stress the im portance of a thorough physical ex amination of each patient. This is essential to proper diagnosis and treatment, which in all cases must be based upon the patient's indi vidual needs. 4. Q..A9 o A. Yes, indeed! Methods of treat ment for all types of arthritis are constantly being improved. Theout look for further advances is now more hopeful than ever before thanks to research which is yielding new facts about the underlying causes of arthritis, especially the rheumatoid type. s-Q. -lao a .vWtu cwtu " bL.ec4 dicLweid ^t 6tRvu o ? A. No, indeed! Yet, many people are still misled by claims that are made for certain "arthritis cures" or other forms of therapy that are worthless. Authorities emphasize that proper medical care offers the only hope of permanent relief from arthritis. Today, about 60 percent of the victims can be greatly bene fited, and in some cases completely relieved, if proper treatment is com menced early. 6. Po CAm. R <utd A. Doctors say there are certain precautions that everyone can take to help prevent arthritis, or to lessen the effect if it should occur. Here are some of them: keep weight nor mal ... try to maintain good posture . .. get sufficient rest, sleep, and exercise . . . eat a balanced daily diet . . . have regular medical and dental examinations . . . maintain a calm mental outlook ... see your doctor whenever persistent pain oc curs in any joint.