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The downsides of delaying arthritis treatment
Have you been putting off seeing a doctor about your aching hips or knees? It's time to take action. Arthritis is often to blame. A diagnosis and treatment plan can greatly improve your quality of life. What might you be risking if you wait?
Arthritis can take an emotional toll. The stress of living with unmanaged pain can raise your risk for anxiety and depression. And those problems can, in turn, make it harder to manage arthritis. It's a vicious cycle.
Stiff, achy joints can make everything from house cleaning to grocery shopping challenging. Plus they can keep you from enjoying favorite hobbies and recreational activities. The sooner you learn about your treatment options, the sooner you can get back to enjoying your life!
Untreated arthritis symptoms can make work challenging. You might find it difficult to perform some tasks. Or you might miss work when your arthritis flares up. Arthritis is a major cause of work disability.
Arthritis aches and pains tend to worsen with time. And you could have more problems moving around as a result. With some types of arthritis, early treatment is very important to prevent further joint damage.
If joint pain causes you to be inactive, your muscles could get weaker, making you less steady on your feet. That's one reason people with arthritis may have an increased risk of falling and breaking a bone.
YOUR HEART HEALTH
Arthritis may raise your risk for heart problems. Inflammation might play a role. Another reason? Arthritis pain may cause you to be inactive and gain weight, both of which can be bad for your heart.
See your doctor
A doctor can help in all kinds of ways—from recommending medicine and assistive devices to referring you to physical or occupational therapy. And if those don't work? You can talk about whether joint replacement is right for you. Want to see if you might be ready for joint replacement?
Sources: American College of Rheumatology; Arthritis Foundation; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases; U.S. National Library of Medicine
- American College of Rheumatology. "Osteoarthritis." https://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Diseases-Conditions/Osteoarthritis.
- Arthritis Foundation. "Arthritis and Mental Health." https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/healthy-living/emotional-well-being/anxiety-depression/arthritis-and-mental-health.
- Arthritis Foundation. "Osteoarthritis and Falls: How to Reduce Your Risk." https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/healthy-living/managing-pain/joint-protection/osteoarthritis-and-falls.
- Arthritis Foundation. "Osteoarthritis and Your Heart." https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/about-arthritis/related-conditions/other-diseases/osteoarthritis-could-be-risky-to-your-heart.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Arthritis Related Statistics." https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/data_statistics/arthritis-related-stats.htm.
- National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. "Osteoarthritis." https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/osteoarthritis.
- National Library of Medicine. "The Epidemiology and Impact of Pain in Osteoarthritis." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3753584/.
The information found in the Health Library is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice nor does it represent the views or position of WHMC. Readers should always consult with their healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment, including for specific medical needs.