Facts on arthritis
A crippling disease on the rise
- Arthritis is a broad term that encompasses more than 100 different conditions, ranging from osteoarthritis, common in older people and stemming from wear and tear on joints, to rheumatoid arthritis, a crippling autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks its own tissue. A person with arthritis is likely to have pain, swelling and/or stiffness in the joints.
- Arthritis is the most common cause of long-term disability in Canada, according to The Arthritis Society. Over four million Canadians are affected to some degree by arthritis, with 13 per cent — or over 600,000 — disabled by the disease.
- Women are affected more often than men. The prevalence in women is 21.1 per cent of the adult population, compared to 15.7 per cent in men.
As boomers age, the incidence of arthritis is expected to explode. Between 1991 and 2031, the number of Canadians aged 65 and over will jump from 3.2 million to 8.3 million, accounting for 22 per cent of the total population. Likewise, the number of arthritis sufferers in this age group will jump from 1.2 million in 1991 to a projected 3.2 million 2031. Arthritis and related disorders cost the Canadian economy more than 55 billion dollars a year. Arthritis disability can seriously affect quality of life. Fifty-seven per cent of sufferers recently polled said arthritis limits their ability to walk; 54 per cent are limited in their spring cleaning; and 52 per cent were limited in their ability to garden. Warning signs of arthritis include pain or swelling in one or more joints that lasts more than a few weeks and red, warm, and swollen joints that are sensitive to the touch. The latest topical treatment for arthritis is Menthacin, which contains a dual-acting, natural formula of capsaicin and menthol. Capsaicin is a chili pepper extract that relieves pain over the long-term by depleting the amount of Substance P surrounding the inflamed joint. This substance is responsible for sending the pain message from the joint to the brain. The menthol provides a cool, soothing feeling for immediate relief. Due to advances in research, physicians are now able to diagnose arthritis early and treat the symptoms, helping to prevent permanent, disabling damage. Canadian researchers are also studying triggers that contribute to chronic inflammation and hope to find a cure within 10 years. As arthritis takes shape in different forms and varying degrees of severity, each case and treatment approach requires individual attention.