Healthy Living: Obesity major factor in rising rates of arthritis

May is National Arthritis Month.  It's estimated at least 54-million Americans are living with arthritis and rates are projected to increase over the next 20 years.

Arthritis is a condition that impacts a person's joints and is often the result of wear-and-tear.  Dr. Sean Snyder with Pacific Medical Centers says in addition to an aging population, obesity is a major contributing factor to the rates of arthritis increasing.  Dr. Snyder says in terms of prevention, maintaining a healthy weight is important and staying active to reduce your risk of developing arthritis.

There are two forms of arthritis.  The first is osteoarthritis which is the most common.   Osteoarthritis happens over time, damaging the joints and can result in pain and restricted movement.  Injuries to the joints or bones earlier in life can increase a person's risk for osteoarthritis as they get older.  The second form of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis.  Dr. Snyder says rheumatoid arthritis is the result of the body's immune system attacking the area around a person's joints, causing it to become inflamed or swollen.

While millions of Americans are impacted by arthritis, Dr. Snyder says there may be many more who have the condition but haven't seen their doctor.  He suggests if you're having chronic joint pain or soreness to see your doctor because there are treatment options available to help.  Diagnosis for arthritis starts with a conversation with your medical provider who can walk you through options that will best suite you.