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Weeklong Series on Arthritis: Arthritis Part Three

| November 21, 2013


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Nearly 1 in 3 adults in the United States is living with arthritis or chronic joint symptoms that HAVE NOT BEEN diagnosed by a doctor. Going without a diagnosis means going without proper treatment. And that can lead to all kinds of health complications. Let’s examine why getting diagnosed early can help patients have a better quality of life. Many people think they might have arthritis, but for some reason never discuss it with their healthcare practitioners. Some elderly people learn to accept joint pain as an unavoidable part of the aging process. But turning a blind eye to arthritis pain can lead to health problems in the long run. Which is why healthcare practitioners say its important to get an early arthritis diagnosis. Lindsay Burlock Pines Health Physician’s Assistant who works with many arthritis patients in Aroostook County. She says “it is very important to be diagnosed early with arthritis that way we can start treating the symptoms and treating the disease process early.” That process can include joint pain, a progressive stiffness that develops gradually, swelling and inflammation.  Burlock says “with osteoarthitis you can start to develop bone spurs within the joints which are very painful and that can continue to progress over time to the point that conservative treatment won’t really help and you need to go to a more aggressive measures such as surgery.

Arthritis is diagnosed by the patient’s: medical history, a physical examination, blood testing, laboratory tests, and/or X-rays. All age groups can be affected by arthritis, including more than 300 thousand children. Overall, lifelong joint health is an important part of wellness, quality of life and independence. If you have arthritis, an early diagnosis enables patients to be proactive. Early treatment can protect the joints from ongoing pain and permanent damage caused by inflammation. And a step further, prompt treatment can protect your overall health. Some types of arthritis can cause internal damage to the heart and other organs from the start. But it all begins with seeing a primary care provider. “There are some people that come in and say I never come because whenever I come there’s always someone that says there’s something wrong with me and people don’t like to hear that but it is realistic about how you’re feeling and if you’re living in pain everyday you should bring it to your providers’ attention,” says Burlock.


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