Arthritis: Keep your joints healthy

There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, but all have one thing in common: These different diseases affect joints. Many of them also affect the areas and structures surrounding joints. Perhaps more important, arthritis is painful and can interfere with your ability to do the things that you enjoy, from cooking a meal to playing golf.

The number of people with arthritis is staggering. In 2005, 66 million adults in the United States — nearly one in three — had either been diagnosed with arthritis or were living with undiagnosed chronic joint pain and other symptoms. Although the risk of some types of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis, increases with age, more than half of those affected by all types of arthritis are younger than 65. In fact, arthritis is the leading cause of disability in Americans older than 15.

It doesn’t have to be that way. If you have arthritis, there are steps you can take, starting today, to protect your joints, reduce pain, and improve mobility. The exact strategy depends on the type of arthritis you have, but for most people, there is reason for optimism.

This report describes how arthritis affects the joints and other structures. It explains how the various kinds of arthritis are diagnosed and treated, and tells how to minimize the impact of arthritis in your life.

Obtaining the correct diagnosis is particularly important — and sometimes quite difficult. Joint discomfort can result from any one of a number of different conditions, but even blood and imaging tests often provide no definitive answer. Because being able to describe your symptoms is so important, this report discusses the variety of symptoms that may occur, and which are typical of particular kinds of arthritis.

In addition, you will find here detailed information and specific treatment advice for the two most common types of arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, along with a brief look at other types of arthritis, such as gout, pseudogout, ankylosing spondylitis, and infectious arthritis.

Because living with arthritis requires more than finding a drug treatment, this report also provides advice about how to exercise safely, cope with emotions, and evaluate whether complementary therapies, such as glucosamine and chondroitin supplements, are right for you.

Millions of people live with arthritis, but this report will suggest ways to live well.

Volunteer

We’re looking for outgoing, friendly, volunteers to help at our front desk by answering phones, checking people in and welcoming everyone to The Den. If you’re interested in working three to four hours a day for two to four days a week, contact Julia at 264-2167 or stop in at The Den. This opportunity will begin in April.

Weekly activities

Friday, April 24 — Geezers, 9 a.m.; Tai Chi for Arthritis, 9:30-10:30 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; April birthday celebration, noon.

Monday, April 27 — Gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; canasta, 1 p.m.

Tuesday, April 28 — Gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; John Graves-musician, 12:45 p.m.; Meditation for Healing, 1 p.m.

Wednesday, April 29 — Dance for health, 10 a.m.; blood pressure check, 11 a.m.; Alzheimer’s support group, 1 p.m.; AARP driver’s safety, 1-5 p.m.

Thursday, April 30 — Administrative day.

Friday, May 1- Geezers, 9 a.m.; Tai Chi for Arthritis, 9:30-10:30 a.m. (last class); gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Presentation from Alpine Home health (senior fitness).

John Graves

Local “Geezer” John Graves will be at The Den Tuesday, April 28 at 12:45 p.m. to tell of his distinguished career as a professional musician, television and movie executive, producer and college professor. John was born in Porterville, Calif., in 1928. He was a child prodigy, composing songs and performing on piano for school and vaudeville type shows by the age of 8. Throughout his various life pursuits, John’s love of and devotion of music has remained constant. Come join us and hear stories, songs and much more about the life of John Graves and some of the celebrity’s he has worked with. To learn about John Graves visit his Web site at www.thegravesite.com.

Menu

Suggested donation for older adults age 60-plus is $3, kids 12 and under and guests $6. Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act, United Way, and Archuleta County, Town of Pagosa Springs and other contributions and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal which is approximately $9.75. Please note our menu is subject to change. The salad bar opens at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served at noon.

Friday, April 24 —Beef and sweet peppers, brown rice, broccoli, raisin applesauce, roll.

Monday, April 27 — Hamburger with lettuce, tomato and onion, baked beans, french fries, fruit.

Tuesday, April 28 — Chicken cacciatore, oven brown potatoes, Italian vegetables, peaches, lotto cookie, bread.

Wednesday, April 29 — Enchilada pie with lettuce and tomato, squash, mixed fruit, tortillas.

Thursday, April 30 — Administrative day.

Friday, May 1 — Roast beef, mashed potatoes with gravy, green bean amandine, apricot and peaches, french bread.