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Chronic Conditions

Early Diagnosis Can Help in the Treatment of Arthritis

Close-up of two people holding hands
Close-up of two people holding hands

It’s important to recognize early signs of arthritis, because if the disease does strike, it can create a long-lasting and dramatic impact on your life.

While arthritis is the most common chronic condition in Canada, it’s also a commonly-misunderstood health condition. 

For the six million Canadians living with arthritis, the impact it has on their lives is too often diminished. A recent poll by the Arthritis Society showed nearly 80% of respondents say people don’t take the disease seriously.

“Arthritis is very serious,” says Trish Barbato, President and CEO of the Arthritis Society. “It has a devastating impact on people, causing pain, restricted mobility, and a diminished quality of life.”

And it’s not just an older person’s disease. Half of all Canadians living with arthritis are younger than 65 — in fact, as many as 24,000 children live with arthritis. And while the risk of getting arthritis increases with age, it’s not a natural part of getting older.

Recognizing the symptoms

“Early diagnosis is important because it can slow the progression of the disease and help you maintain your quality of life,” explains Barbato.

Here are three symptoms to never ignore: 

  • Pain, swelling, and stiffness in one or more joints 
  • Morning stiffness in and around the affected joints that lasts at least one hour 
  • Pain and stiffness that worsen with inactivity and improve with physical activity

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to talk to your health care professional as soon as possible. They’ll help you get the treatment you need so you can live the life you want. 

“While there’s no cure — yet — we have tools and resources available through the Arthritis Society to help people not just live with the diagnosis, but thrive in spite of it,” shares Barbato. 

Did you know?

  • Arthritis is a collection of more than 100 conditions affecting joints and other tissues
  • 1 in 5 Canadians live with arthritis, a number to grow to 1 in 4 by 2040
  • Nearly 60% of people with arthritis are women

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