Smart Woman: Advances in Arthritis Treatment

Published 05/04 2012 08:01PM

Updated 05/04 2012 08:05PM

Arthritis can strike at any age, causing stiffness and pain. But there are advances in treatment.

Three years ago, Dr. Susan Zieman was diagnosed with arthritis. Now in her mid forties, she's in constant pain.

"I started to get stiff hands and wrists and before I knew it I couldn't pick up a glass," said Zieman.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It's caused by the loss of cartilage that covers joint bones, which happens as we age. But Zieman has rheumatoid arthritis  which causes her joints to become inflamed, creating stiffness, fatigue, pain, swelling and limited movement.

"Most other forms of arthritis fall under the category of inflammatory arthritis, and those can strike at any age, particularly young women," said internal medicine Doctor, Dr. Assil Saleh.

But there are treatments for inflammatory arthritis that can help relieve pain.

"There have been a lot of advances in the field of treatment of these conditions that would put the disease in remission, in order for people not to experience symptoms," said Saleh.

So far treatments have not worked for Zieman. Although she finds it difficult to walk  and must use a scooter to get around, Zieman believes one day, doctors will find a treatment that works. Till then, she tries to keep a positive attitude. 

Zieman said, "I think of every day as a lot of hurdles and challenges."

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