Caregiver Resources - Arthritis

This Canadian website provides information for the public and health care professionals on arthritis. Topics include educational resources, programs, services available, information on special events, along with research publications and studies.

The Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Network website is a resource page where people can find information on living with RA. Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can make it difficult to live a full, healthy life. Fortunately, there are many ways to manage these symptoms — from medications to lifestyle changes. 

“Arthritis” means inflamed joint and is a term used to describe a group of diseases and conditions that cause pain, stiffness and swelling in a person’s joints or other parts of their musculoskeletal (muscle and bone) system (1).  Arthritis is a leading cause of disability in Canada and is most common in older adults (1). 

There are several types of arthritis including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout (1). Most types of arthritis are characterized by pain, aching, stiffness and swelling, which weaken the structure and functioning of affected joints (1).This can make simple tasks a challenge and disrupt daily routines. Osteoarthritis is the most common type experienced by older adults and is usually present in the joints of the hands, knees, hips and spine (2).

Participation in physical activity is necessary for a healthy musculoskeletal system. Low-impact exercise such as walking, cycling and swimming help keep joints flexible and strengthen the muscles that support them (2). Additionally, maintaining a healthy weight will help protect joints by avoiding excess stress on them during daily tasks. The use of canes, grab bars and larger handles can help those living with arthritis manage their daily activities. As part of an arthritis management strategy, physicians might also recommend medication to reduce pain (1). Discuss your needs with your health care team.

References

(1)  Government of Canada. (2011). Chapter 1: Life with arthritis in Canada: A personal and public health challenge – What is arthritis and how common is it? Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/chronic-diseases/arthritis/life-arthritis-canada-a-personal-public-health-challenge/chapter-one-what-is-arthritis-and-how-common-is-it.html

(2)  Health Canada. (2008). Seniors and aging – Osteoarthritis. Retrieved from http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/alt_formats/pacrb-dgapcr/pdf/iyh-vsv/diseases-maladies/seniors-aines-ost-art-eng.pdf

This website provides educational resources and information on programs and services for people affected by arthritis for the public and health care providers. Topics include facts and figures, information on research, special events, newsletters, tips on living with arthritis and policy development.