Arthritis continues to be the leading cause of disability in Oklahomans and every year the number of residents diagnosed with the disease continues to grow, stressed Diana Romano, a Family and Consumer Sciences Educator for the Oklahoma County OSU Cooperative Extension Service and a Registered Dietitian.
Around 30 percent of Oklahomans have some sort of arthritis-related medical problem and about half of all people in the state with arthritis suffer from loss in movement or physical ability because of it, Romano said.
“As we begin to live longer,” Romano explained, “more of us will experience some type of disability due to arthritis in our lifetime.”
According to Jan Johnston, a Gerontology Specialist at Oklahoma State University’s Cooperative Extension Service, arthritis affects around one in every three individuals.
Even though there are several different types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis and tendonitis, most arthritic conditions involve inflammation of the joint which results in swelling, redness, pain and loss of motion.
“These conditions affect the joints and surrounding tissues like muscles and tendons, but also can affect the skin, internal organs and other parts of the body,” Romano pointed out. “These issues can make it very difficult to get around or earn a living.”
Romano, who teaches exercise strategies to arthritis patients, also stressed how important it is for Oklahomans with arthritis to stay at a healthy weight.