Six million Canadians. That is the number of people living with arthritis. If you are one of six million, then you know that it’s a statistic that you’d much rather not be part of.

Arthritis can be painful, can cause stiffness, affect range of motion, and cause mobility issues. According to the Arthritis Society, it is the most common chronic health condition in Canada.

“It is certainly something we hear a lot about and is a common topic of conversation among our residents,” said Jody Kehler, Licensed Practical Nurse and Senior Living Specialist. “While there is medication available and other treatment options, what’s disappointing is that there is no cure and when you have arthritis you have it for life.”

There are 100 different types of arthritis, primarily causing inflammation of joints and other tissues. Depending on the type of arthritis, it can affect joints on both sides of the body, or just one side. Most often those living with arthritis will have issues with their hips, knees, spine, fingers, wrists, or elbows.

While the chances of having arthritis increases with age, it is not a condition that has an age limit and doesn’t just affect seniors. It can affect everyone, even children. However, it is found to be most prevalent in women.

World Arthritis Day is October 12 and September was marked as Arthritis Awareness Month. As with other days and months that are recognized throughout the year by organizations and professionals in the health community it is an excellent time to do a little extra research to find out more about the condition and what you can do to try to prevent it.

Genetics, along with age and gender, are factors that are taken into consideration for the development of arthritis. And while these are factors that cannot be controlled, others can be. Research has shown that being overweight, inactive, and a smoker can put you at a higher risk of developing arthritis. Doing what you can to avoid joint injuries and maintaining a healthy diet can also help to reduce your chances of developing this chronic condition.

“It’s important to lead a healthy lifestyle to try to reduce those risk factors. I’ve seen firsthand how debilitating arthritis can be, it’s not something to take lightly. It diminishes your quality of life and for some causes pain that limits daily activities. That’s not how most people envision spending their golden years,” said Jody.