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Arthritis: A Common Secondary Condition Among Persons With Disabilities
Experiencing Joint Pain?
Do you experience pain, swelling or stiffness of joints such as in the knee, elbow, wrist or neck? Do your joints become red, warm, swollen and painful, and you feel sick all over? Do you experience unexplained fever, fatigue, weight loss and swollen lymph glands in your body such as in the neck, under the chin, in the armpits, and in the groin for more than two weeks? If you do, you may have arthritis, a chronic disease common among people with disabilities.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a disease that causes pain and loss of movement of the joints. It includes more than 100 diseases and conditions affecting joints, the surrounding tissues and other connective tissues in many areas of the body. There are three common types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis, commonly referred as “wear and tear” arthritis, involves destruction of shock absorbers on the ends of the bones. Fibromyalgia causes pain and stiffness in the tissue supporting bones and joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is inflammation of joint tissue.
Am I at Risk for Arthritis?
Persons with disabilities may have a higher risk of developing arthritis than those without disability. In fact, chronic pain in muscles and joints is the most frequently reported (55%) secondary health condition among persons with disabilities.1
Listed below are possible factors that likely increase the risk of arthritis among persons with disability.
What Should I Do If I Suspect That I Have Arthritis?
Talk to Your Doctor
(1) Kinne, S. et al. (2004). Prevalence of secondary conditions among people with disabilities. Am J Public Health, 94(3), 443-5.
This information sheet was prepared by the Illinois Department of Public Health with a goal of promoting health and preventing secondary conditions among Illinois citizens with disabilities. Funding is provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through a cooperative agreement. To learn more about the program and how to become involved, call at 217-782-3300 or TTY 800-547-0466.
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