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Evidence-based Overviews | Prevention or Disease Remission | Treatments & Self-Management | Associated Conditions  Decision Aids and Toolkits | Work Accommodation | Arthritis Organizations | Research on Arthritis

Knee joint

The word arthritis literally means joint inflammation, but it is often used to refer to a group of more than 100 diseases that can cause pain, stiffness, swelling and deformation in the joints. Some of these diseases may affect not only the joints but also supporting structures such as muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments as well as increase the risk for other health conditions.

Evidence-based Overviews 

Prevention or Disease Remission

Some types of arthritis can be prevented while others can be dramatically stopped or slowed down if treated aggressively. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis, an inflammatory disease, is one of the types of arthritis that is best treated early and aggressively with “disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs” (DMARDs) that can prevent joint damage, reduce pain and reduce the risk of premature death. The Arthritis Research Centre of Canada has a great video with Dr. Diane Lacaille on Rheumatoid Arthritis and DMARDs.

Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is a slow progressive disease that leads to pain, swelling, stiffness and decreased mobility. New research has found biomarkers in the blood and urine that can help detect early stages of osteoarthritis which can lead to early management of the disease. Early management includes weight loss, physical activity and muscle strengthening. Watch Dr. Joland Cibere discuss early detection and management, in Osteoarthritis is a Treatable Disease.  Some types of osteoarthritis can be dramatically reduced by avoiding or reducing injuries from contact sports. 
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Associated Conditions 

Cardiovascular Disease & Strokes – Some types of arthritis increase the risk of heart disease and strokes. Therefore it is important for people at greater risk of cardiovascular disease to take preventive action to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke and to have their health provider regularly monitor signs and symptoms for disease.  

Lupus and Preventing Heart Attacks and Strokes
Rheumatoid Arthritis and Increased Risk of Heart Disease


Decision Aids and Toolkits  

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Arthritis Lifestyle Management Guide - 150 pointers for everday living with arthritis from the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada
Check Up on Your Bones - An interactive bone health check-up tool that allows you to identify the most common red flags that put your bones at risk and strategies to help you manage them.
Arthritis Interactive Tutorial - An interactive tutorial on arthritis by Medline Plus
Online Pain Assessment Tool - An online pain assessment tool that provides you with a body to assign pain levels to. Provides an opportunity to print your assessment to give to your doctor or for your own records.
Patient Decision Aids – A comprehensive listing of decision aids for patients to help them make informed decisions about treatment options.
Pain Resource Centre - Provides users with information on how manage their pain care, including: how to find a pain specialist, pain causes and treatments and medical definitions.
Finding Relief for Chronic Pain – A podcast featuring doctors and patients from UW Medicine Center for Pain Relief on the importance of finding the source of chronic pain and new techniques for treating chronic pain.
Tools of Change - Tools of Change provides tools, case studies, and a planning guide to help people take actions and adopt habits that promote health, safety and sustainability.
Focus on Your Wellness Videocasts – NIH hosts a variety of experts to speak about ways you can improve your quality of life through physical activity, eating well and making healthy lifestyle changes.

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Work Accommodation Information  

Tips for Managing Arthritis in the Workplace - Arthritis Research Centre of Canada
Balancing Arthritis, Work, and Life - Arthritis Research Centre of Canada
Employment and Arthritis in Working Populations [in Canada]– Background information about the challenges of people with arthritis in Canada by the Arthritis Community Research & Evaluation Unit (ACREU), The Arthritis & Immune Disorder Research Centre, The Toronto Hospital (1999)
The quest for greater flexibility: Creative innovations for workers with arthritis - Arthritis is a leading cause of disability among adults, and it often affects them in the prime of their career. How it’s approached in the workplace can make all the difference, according to a new study by an adjunct scientist at the Institute for Work & Health.
Employment and Arthritis: Making it Work - Arthritis Research Centre of Canada is creating a 5-week, online e-learning program about arthritis and staying employed.
Workplace "Accommodation": What is it and how does it apply? - Arthritis Research Centre of Canada provides a great description of workplace accomodation and what it can mean for you if your arthritis begins to interfere with your work activities.

Job Accommodation for People with Arthritis – Fact sheet prepared by Department of Labor
Tips for HR Professionals – Workplace accommodations for people with Arthritis prepared by Christy Clark, M.Ed., Graduate Research Assistant, Missouri Arthritis Rehabilitation Research and Training Center

Arthritis Organizations 

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Last Updated: August 10, 2014

Reviewed by: Marc White PhD, Scientific & Executive Director, CIRPD  



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