During Arthritis Awareness Month monitor ‘Activity Limitations’

PSA from Piedmont Walton

Athens, Ga. (May 20, 2024) – Grasping small objects. Reaching over your head. Sitting for two hours. Lifting an object that weighs 10 pounds. Walking a quarter of a mile.

These might seem like relatively easy tasks for most but for the increasing number of Americans with arthritis, they are not. Adults who cannot perform these tasks have activity limitations.

From 2013 to 2105, 23.7 million Americans suffered from activity limitations. The estimated number of Americans suffering from activity limitations has grown faster than projected – to 25.7 million from 2016 to 2018, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Joshua Hedrick, M.D.

In all, the CDC estimates that nearly 1 in 4 adults – 59 million people – suffer from arthritis, which is a leading cause of disability in the United States.

May is Arthritis Awareness Month and if you feel you are suffering from activity limitations like those above, you might want to consult a rheumatologist. Rheumatologists treat autoimmune and inflammatory diseases that mostly affect the body’s musculoskeletal system (joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments).

Joshua Hedrick, M.D., is a rheumatologist for Piedmont Athens Regional Rheumatology. Dr. Hedrick treats conditions such as gout, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and lupus. While arthritis is not curable, it can be managed. If patients take action and learn about their disease, they can continue to lead productive lives.

“One of the most important things for people with arthritis to do is to keep moving,” said Dr. Hedrick. “It can be hard, especially if you’re worried about it being painful, but exercises can be adjusted and physical activity will keep joints from stiffening.”

Dr. Hedrick recommends doing exercises that are low-impact and non-weight-bearing, such as cycling. A study recently published by the National Institutes of Health reported that cycling strengthens the immune system and lowers the likelihood of developing osteoarthritis.

In addition to exercise, sometimes treatment can include medication or diet changes. A Mediterranean diet, which encourages eating less red meat and more fish, fruits and vegetables, is recommended. Fish contains Omega 3, which is a natural anti-inflammatory, and the diet can help an individual lose weight. When medication isn’t the best option for treatment, Piedmont Athens Regional Rheumatology recommends physical and occupational therapy when appropriate. 

Dr. Hedrick keeps up to date of the changing treatment options available for patients with inflammatory arthritis or autoimmune diseases like lupus. He works with his patients to develop a treatment plan that suits their needs and helps slow the disease progress. Creating a personalized care plan allows patients to live a more active life without pain.

To learn more about Piedmont’s rheumatology services, visit piedmont.org/rheumatology.

For more information, or booking your next appointment, visit piedmont.org

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