National Geographic : 1950 Oct
New~~~ wepn el ih ART SII MEDICAL SCIENCE is definitely on the march against arthritis. For example, experi ments with many new substances have shown great promise in test cases, even though they have not as yet been completely verified on a broad scale. These substances, however, are very scarce and at present are available only for research purposes and for limited use in treatment in certain hospitals. Even without such substances, doctors to day know more than ever before about arthri tis and how to treat it. They also know that one of the big problems is to get people to have prompt medical attention in the early stages of the disease. Too often those with arthritis rely on so called "sure cures" which may temporarily relieve pain but generally do little or nothing to correct the fundamental situation. Accord ing to the Arthritis and Rheumatism Foun dation, if proper treatment is started early, about 60 percent of the arthritis patients can be greatly helped and in some cases com pletely relieved. There are many different forms of arthritis. The two most common are rheumatoid ar thritis which usually begins before age 40, and osteoarthritis which is found most often in people past middle age. Using approved diag nostic methods, including a complete physical examination, the doctor can usually deter mine what type of arthritis is present and prescribe the treatment best suited to the pa tient's individual needs. Among other things, the doctor may recom mend bringing the weight down to normal. Even as little as 10 or 15 pounds of extra weight may appreciably increase the pain of arthritis, especially in the weight-bearing joints. He may also suggest following a nutri tious but moderate daily diet, maintaining proper posture, and paying careful attention to daily hygiene. While great strides have been made in treat ing the disease, medical research is continuing its efforts to develop more effective weapons against the many forms of arthritis. Today, doctors believe that the future holds real hope for the millions of people with this condition.