Arthritis is a common health problem, but it’s often thought of as something that’s only an issue in older populations. However, that’s not entirely accurate. Up to 7% of all doctor-diagnosed arthritis cases are in young adults age 18 to 44, with some cases developing even younger. Rheumatoid arthritis can be a problematic health condition, causing difficulty for even younger patients. Here are some facts on how arthritis can affect younger populations, and what to do if you suspect you may have arthritis.
Arthritis In Young Adults
While arthritis is typically known as a condition in older people, millions of younger adults deal with arthritis and arthritis-like symptoms on a regular basis. In fact, 1 in 25 working-age adults face work limitations they attribute to arthritis. Even if you haven’t dealt with arthritis earlier in life, it is possible to develop it throughout your adult life, meaning that any current symptoms could be early signs of arthritis.
If you have any of the following symptoms, talk to your doctor; they could be early signs of arthritis or other joint health problems.
- Morning stiffness after waking up
- Joint pain in knees, shoulders, wrists, etc.
- Joint swelling
- Persistent pain in limbs
It’s important to consult with a doctor if you have any of these symptoms. Rheumatoid arthritis can be difficult to diagnose properly, so be sure to ask your doctor if these could be symptoms of something else.
Arthritis Treatment Options
While many people believe that there is no treatment for arthritis, this isn’t entirely accurate. There might not be a long-term cure for arthritis, but there are plenty of things you can do to reduce symptoms. Eating well, avoiding sports injuries, opting for low-impact exercises over high-impact, and maintaining a healthy weight can all reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in all ages. If pain persists, there are medications available to help ease the pain caused by arthritis, but make sure that this option is guided by your doctor. Additionally, educating yourself on arthritis can help you better understand what activities and treatments may be best for you to manage this condition.