Are you young and think you’re safe from Arthritis? You could be wrong.

May is Arthritis Awareness Month. Arthritis is usually something associated with aging and our grandparents. What most people don’t know is that there are several different types of arthritis, affecting all kinds of people.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, over 46 million Americans are living with the disease today. Arthritis is a term used to define over 100 conditions, disorders, and diseases. However, the two major types of Arthritis are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Others include Juvenile Arthritis, Gout, Psoriatic Arthritis, Lupus, and Septic Arthritis.

Osteoarthritis occurs when the overuse of joints becomes excessive. The knees, hips, feet, and spine are most likely to contribute to this issue. This condition can be brought on by youth sports injuries, obesity, aging, and the overall breakdown of cartilage in the body.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is the most common form of the disease with a total of 1.3 million Americans suffering. In Rheumatoid Arthritis, the joints most affected are those in the hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees, ankles, feet, jaw, and neck. This causes pain and swelling, preventing victims from completing everyday tasks such as walking, driving, and working.

What do rheumatoid arthritis (RA), type 1 diabetes, Graves’ disease and multiple sclerosis have in common?  One affects joints, another blood sugar.  One puts the thyroid into “overdrive”. And the last condition affects the brain and spinal cord.  Although the diseases seem pretty different, there is one common denominator.  They are all believed to be autoimmune diseases.

A major difference between degenerative arthritis, or the most well-known type, and having an Autoimmune Arthritis disease is that pain from degenerative arthritis is felt after damage has occurred, because the damage is a result of the wearing away of cartilage.  In Autoimmune Arthritis, pain is first felt often years before any damage is visible.  The onset of inflammation often is describe as feeling like an injury, such as a sprain and therefore is sometimes treated as such.

The Fellowship in Anti-Aging, Regenerative and Functional Medicine Advanced Immune Therapies Module will be offering June 6 – 8 at the San Diego Marriott Hotel and Marina and will discuss arthritis and autoimmune disease as well as various other topics.

Educating yourself about the symptoms and dangers of the disease as well as being physically active, and protecting your joints can all save your body from becoming a victim of Arthritis. The best way to keep your bones and joints healthy is to maintain a healthy weight. Exercising, strength conditioning, a healthy diet, consuming the right vitamins and calcium, and less caffeine are some factors that contribute to staying healthy and avoiding Arthritis.