Everything You Need to Know about Arthritis

Arthritis is one of the most common medical conditions in the United States, affecting millions of Americans each year. In simple terms, arthritis is a medical condition characterized by joint pain due to inflammation of the surrounding tissue. Though anyone can develop arthritis, it is most common in the elderly and those who have had joint related injuries in the past. While arthritis cannot be cured, there are many things that people can do to reduce the impact that arthritis has on their life.


Arthritis can be caused by a variety of issues, but wear and tear from frequent use and injuries are the most common. For example, many people who do manual labor will develop arthritis in their hands, elbows or shoulders as a result of repetitive movement. Arthritis can also be caused by other medical conditions such as an infection. Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by an overactive immune system that attacks healthy tissue in the body. Arthritis is generally diagnosed without any need for medical tests, but medical testing may be completed to rule out other health problems that can cause similar symptoms.

Medical Treatment

The treatment of arthritis varies depending on its cause. The beginning treatment for arthritis that is caused by a medical condition is to address the underlying problem. For minor cases of arthritis, over the counter anti-inflammatory pain relievers such as aspirin and ibuprofen can be used to reduce the pain and swelling. For those whose symptoms cannot be managed with over the counter medications, prescription pain relievers are available. Doctors can also provide pain relieving injections into the affected joint, but these injections cannot be frequented used. Occupational therapy can also help arthritis sufferers by teaching them ways to reduce strain on their affected joints while living a normal life. In severe cases, surgical procedures can be used to help joints to work properly or to completely replace a joint with an artificial one.

Lifestyle Changes

In addition to medications and other medical treatments, a number of lifestyle changes can also have a positive impact on arthritis. Exercise and stretching can be effective for reducing arthritis symptoms. Exercise can help a person to strengthen muscles and lose weight which will both reduce the strain on a person’s joints and reduce the occurrence and severity of arthritis. Low impact aerobic activities such as swimming, riding a stationary bike or yoga can be very beneficial without placing much stress on the painful joints. Dietary changes such as reducing sodium intake and eating a balanced diet with lots of fresh foods can also reduce the symptoms of arthritis.

Mental Health

While many people overlook the mental health aspects that medical problems can cause, mental health issues often occur with those who suffer from arthritis. The pain from arthritis, as well as the social isolation that it can cause, often has a negative impact on a person’s mental health. Those suffering from arthritis, or other chronic conditions, should stay aware of their mental health and consult with a medical professional about any problems that may arise. Staying active and connected with others with help arthritis sufferers to fight off the depression and other mental health disorders that poor health can create.

Like most medical problems, arthritis can be a difficult problem to treat and correct. However, there are a number of treatment options available to help those with arthritis to live a normal and productive life. Regardless of the severity of the arthritis symptoms, a person who has arthritis needs to contact a medical professional to take action to treat his or her existing symptoms and to prevent the problems from becoming worse.

VNA & Hospice is dedicated to providing the highest quality healthcare to residents of the Central Coast and Monterey County. Registered nurses and skilled staff members provide many services, including senior home care, hospice health care, palliative care, orthopedic rehabilitation, and more.

top 5 facts about hospice care

Top 5 Facts You Need to Know about Hospices

Due to misconceptions and misunderstandings about hospice care, many patients who could benefit from it don’t receive it. Hospice care provides a supportive and caring environment in which those who have a terminal illness can live out their remaining days as comfortably as possible. The care received is tailored to the wants and needs of you and your family, so one person’s hospice experience can be vastly different from another’s. Here are the five most important facts you need to know if you’re considering hospice care.

Hospice Isn't a Place

Many people believe that hospice care requires the patient to move into a designated hospice facility, but this simply isn’t true. Hospice is a type of care, not a place. You can receive hospice care wherever you call home, be it a private residence or a room or apartment within a nursing care facility or retirement community. Hospice does not require you to live in a specific place or environment. In this arrangement, care comes to you rather than asking that you come to it.

It Isn't About Giving Up

While hospice care is for those with a terminal illness, it’s not about giving up. Hospice is about giving patients the care and support they need to get the most life possible out of whatever time they have left. In fact, people who receive hospice care often live longer than those who don’t. When thinking about hospice care, many people picture patients receiving pain killing drugs in high enough doses that they simply sleep most of the time. While controlling pain is one of the many services hospice care can provide, the care focuses on getting patients the services and equipment they need to live comfortably. If you’re still feeling well enough to run a marathon or volunteer at your church, hospice is happy to help you do so.

Hospice Offers Many Types of Support

Hospice programs offer a multitude of support services to both the patient and his or her family. Support services are available to help people make end of life decisions, cope with their illness and help loved ones deal with their grief both before and after a hospice patient’s passing. Hospice provides services on an a la carte basis, providing only those service you need or want. They can provide the following and more on an as needed basis:

• Home visits from registered nurses
• Access to home health aides who can help with bathing, dressing and other tasks
• Counseling services for patients and their family
• Medical equipment, including hospital beds and oxygen tanks
• Medical supplies
• Nutritional counseling, occupational therapy and other support services
• Access to physicians and specialists
• Pain and symptom management

There is No Time Limit

It is often assumed that hospice care is only for those in the last stages of life and that care has a six month tine limit. This is a misconception. You can receive hospice care as long as you meet the qualifications. If your condition improves and you no longer meet hospice care requirements, you can leave hospice but resume care at any time if you once again meet the criteria. There is no tine limit on how long you may receive hospice services.

You Can Afford It

Hospice is covered by Medicare in 43 states, so many people qualify for care at little or no cost. Many private insurances also cover hospice services so that families need not worry about the cost. If you don’t have insurance. Medicare or Medicaid, hospice programs will sometimes provide at least some of their services for free. It’s always worth a telephone call to your local hospice care provider to find out what help may be available.

VNA & Hospice is dedicated to providing the highest quality healthcare to residents of the Central Coast and Monterey County. Registered nurses and skilled staff members provide many services, including senior home care, hospice health care, palliative care, orthopedic rehabilitation, and more.