It is estimated that around 10 million people in the UK currently have some form of arthritis.
Arthritis is a group of conditions that can affect people of all ages and usually causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints.
Some patients experience joint swelling, along with restricted movements that lead to muscle weakness and atrophy.
About 100 different types of arthritis are known, the most common being rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease, currently without a cure, which causes most sufferers to experience “flare-ups” of pain, inflammation, swelling, and decreased movement of the joints. It tends to be symmetrical in the sense that if a joint on one side of the body is affected, the joint on the other side will also show symptoms.
Although there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, early diagnosis and treatment can help achieve remission of symptoms.
There are currently more than 400,000 patients in the UK, generally starting in people between the ages of 40 and 50, and women are 3 times more likely to be affected than men.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the UK, affecting approximately 8.5 million people.
Osteoarthritis is where the cartilage between the bones gradually wears down, leading to painful bone-to-bone rubbing in the joints. The joints most commonly affected are those of the hands, spine, knees, and hips.
Osteoarthritis often develops in those over the age of 50, however, it can occur at any age due to injury or other related joint conditions.
The common causes are:
1. Age: wear plays an important role in the onset of osteoarthritis, the older you are, the more your joints will have been used; however, although your risk factor increases with age, it is not inevitable that you will suffer from it.
2. Obesity – The heavier you are, the more pressure your body puts on your joints. The hips and knees, in particular, bear the burden of excess weight. Scientists also believe that excess body fat causes chemicals to travel throughout the body, which can damage the joints.
3. Injury or overuse: Athletes or people with repetitive jobs that require the same movement to be performed over and over again (typists, machine operators) are at increased risk of developing osteoarthritis due to increased use and stress on their joints.
4. Genetics: Hereditary bone abnormalities that affect the shape or stability of a joint can lead to osteoarthritis, although it is not a certainty.
Osteoarthritis usually develops slowly, beginning with pain and stiffness that are more of an inconvenience than a concern. For some, it will not develop further, but for others their arthritis will progress to a level where it interferes with daily activities, and pain and stiffness make walking, climbing stairs, or sleeping difficult.
A healthy lifestyle and regular exercise are recommended to improve the physical and mental health of arthritis sufferers, as well as taking full advantage of independent living aids on the market today designed to help with a variety of daily tasks.
While it is vital to maintain as much physical activity as possible, there will be times when the symptoms are so severe that this becomes unbearable and it is necessary to have another solution on hand.
A mobility scooter can be the answer for those times when you simply cannot manage your daily routine and need a solution to maintain your independence. This may be just a temporary solution until your symptoms go away, or a more permanent fix to give you the extra help you need.
Mobility scooter manufacturers have been developing and designing new and improved features on their scooters for years to help make using a scooter easier and more enjoyable for those with reduced joint flexibility, pain, and stiffness.
Features such as fully swiveling seats to allow the user to sit comfortably in the seat before turning on the scooter. This reduces the need to climb, strain, and turn to climb.
Fully adjustable seats and armrests to provide maximum support for good posture and a comfortable riding position.
Delta handlebars, designed to reduce the pressure on the wrists of standard handlebars and with thumb or finger controls for ease of use. Fully adjustable washers to get the right riding position for you, ensuring no extra pressure is put on your joints. Dual controls allow the rider to use one side or the other, ideal if the discomfort is centralized to a single joint.
Mobility scooters that provide additional legroom to allow you to stretch and reduce pressure on your knees and ankles.
Portable mobility scooters that can be taken apart with “one hand” are perfect if you need to carry your scooter with you, but need to be able to transport it yourself, without straining your joints.
There is such a wide variety of scooters on the market today that it is possible to find one that enhances your life and gives you the freedom and independence to maintain an active lifestyle.
Written by Tina Jolley