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Normal joint pain or is it time to get checked for arthritis?

National Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Day was just a few days ago, bringing awareness to an estimated 54 million Americans living with RA joint pain.

Many of us experience knee or hip pain and think that it’s a normal part of the aging process. But when is it time to get checked for arthritis?

Dr. Suhail Kumar, MD, of Piedmont Arthritis Clinic visited the Your Carolina/Livin’ Upstate set at 7 On Main in Greenville to answer that question and a few others.

Fact or Myth?

Understanding arthritis can be difficult. Despite striking more than 50 million Americans, arthritis is a disease that is often misunderstood, with a core of common myths surrounding it. Here are a few of them:

Arthritis is an old person’s disease.
Myth. Although arthritis affects more than half of people 65 years of age and older, most people with arthritis, nearly three out of five, are younger than age 65. People of all ages are affected, including children and teens. In fact, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common chronic illnesses of childhood.

My mother and father had arthritis, so I’ll probably have it too.
Myth. While researchers suspect that some forms of arthritis have inherited links, that does not necessarily mean that you will develop it. There are other things that can lead to someone having arthritis.

Arthritis can be treated.
Fact. Although there is no “magic bullet” for all types of arthritis, research shows that early diagnosis and appropriate management can help reduce the consequences associated with many types of arthritis. Medication, education, physical activity, and surgery are four effective treatment strategies that can make a difference.

Exercise can help reduce pain and improve function.
Fact. Research shows that proper exercise reduces pain and improves function. Some exercises maintain range of motion and joint flexibility while others strengthen muscles that support the joints. Low impact exercise, such as swimming, walking or biking builds strength and helps maintain overall fitness and weight levels.

About Dr. Kumar
Dr. Suhail Kumar of Piedmont Arthritis Clinic, PA, in Greenville, SC is board certified in rheumatology and internal medicine. He has served as clinical assistant professor at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Greenville where he was rheumatology clerkship director for medical students and a lecturer for the Lifestyle Medicine Education Collaborative. He practiced with Rheumatology Associates at IMA for 8 years, serving as rheumatology clinic attending for medical residents at Greenville Memorial Medical Campus.

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