Arthritis is an inflammatory condition of the joints that can at times disable the patient. The consequences of arthritis include joint disfigurement and constrained joint mobility.

Arthritis is a chronic, systemic autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack the joints, causing inflammation, and some organs, such as the lungs and skin. It can be a disabling and painful condition, which can lead to substantial loss of functioning mobility due to pain and joint destruction and it can progress into a disability.

Arthritis is a condition that occurs in various joints in the body, especially in the knees, hips, and spine. Arthritis is second only to heart disease as a cause of work disability and is one of the leading causes of disability in people over the age of 55. Arthritis is most often a chronic disease, so symptoms may come and go, or persist over time.

People who suffer from arthritis will generally experience inflammation of the joints with swelling, tenderness, and soreness for more than two weeks and may also have muscle ache, tiredness, be unable to sleep and depressed and find it very painful when moving around, thus leading to disability in some instances.

Here are some of the causes of Arthritis:

Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most serious and disabling types, affecting mostly women. Osteoarthritis is caused by the breakdown of protective tissue called cartilage in the joints. Juvenile arthritis is a general term for all types of arthritis that occur in children.

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is part of a group of diseases known as autoimmune diseases. The joint lining becomes inflamed as part of the body’s immune system activity. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the bodies own immune system mistakenly attacks the synovium (cell lining inside the joint). Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most serious and disabling types, affecting mostly women. It causes affected joints to feel tender, stiff and swollen. Rheumatoid arthritis is generally worse in the morning. Initially, patients often do not have symptoms following their morning shower. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that warrants treatment as soon as possible to minimize the pain and discomfort.

  • Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA), also known as degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease, is the most common type of arthritis. Osteoarthritis usually affects the hips, knees, feet or hands. Osteoarthritis is caused by the breakdown of protective tissue called cartilage in the joints. It causes degeneration of joint cartilage and changes in underlying bone and supporting tissue, which leads to joint pain and stiffness, movement problems and difficulty on a daily basis.

Osteoarthritis usually is diagnosed in people older than 40. It is classically worse at night or following rest. Symptoms include joint pain while standing or moving, giving out or locking of the joint, pretty constant pain, decreased activity, and abnormal stance or walk. Osteoarthritis results from wear and tear from playing certain types of sports, being overweight and getting older.

Arthritis is not a new disease it was found in factory workers during the Industrial Revolution. As the population ages, the number of people with arthritis is growing. It is a leading cause of disability and a significant public health concern. Arthritis is a painful condition, and for this reason, it should always be taken seriously.

There are a lot of types of arthritis and the most prevalent of all conditions is osteoarthritis. Since arthritis is a disease that affects different parts of the body including the spine, those with this condition find it really hard to move around especially those who have it in their bones. Arthritis of the spine could be especially disabling because these bones are responsible for holding the body in an upright position.

There are ways to relieve the pain caused by arthritis of the spine and other types, but for those who are still safe from this disease, it would be better to take steps in preventing it from developing.

Gender is considered a contributor to this disease because it is found to be more common in males than in females. Women may find themselves with osteoarthritis once they undergo the post-menopausal stage but men under the age of 45 are usually the victims of this condition.

Aging is also one of the factors that contribute greatly to its development. It may start as soon as a person reaches 30 but the rate of the development could also be work-related. If the person does not perform a lot of physical tasks in his or her job, then it is not likely for him or her to develop arthritis in his or her 30’s. This disease could also be hereditary. If it runs in the family or there have been cases of congenital defects in the leg, joints, and spine, it could be expected that arthritis would develop even at an early age.

If a person has other diseases such as diabetes and other infections, it would be best to pay more attention to taking care of the body. Other diseases could also lead to the development of arthritis so it is necessary to understand this condition really well in order to prevent or cure it.

Millions of people suffer from arthritis. Although it is common to older people, it can also affect young adults and children. Arthritis is a condition that affects the joints and its surrounding tissues and there are more than a hundred types of arthritis. This condition puts limitations on one’s ability to accomplish daily physical activities making it a very disabling condition. Due to the pain of inflamed joints and surrounding tissues, people with arthritis are unable to function normally in their everyday lives. Living a life with limited mobility can be very frustrating and depressing. If you are one of those people suffering from painful arthritis, you probably want to achieve arthritis freedom as soon as possible to improve the quality of your life.

The following tips can be very helpful to stop the pain and achieve arthritis freedom.

  • Consult your doctor. Early diagnosis, management, and treatment can save you from serious complications and costly hospitalizations. Learning to manage arthritis as early as possible can also help you function better. Not to mention that it can be a symptom of a disease so it is important to see your doctor evaluate your overall health condition. If left untreated, arthritis can become a chronic problem that can torment you for the rest of your life. If you really want to achieve arthritis freedom, seek professional help.
  • Learn self-management. Arthritis can affect one’s quality of life so it is important to learn how to manage your arthritis to improve the quality of your life and achieve arthritis freedom. Participate in arthritis self-management program in your area to learn how to cope with arthritis and lessen its negative effects in your daily life. There are various ways and techniques to cope with arthritis and with the help of people who are experts in dealing with arthritis, you can manage your arthritis and live your life normally. Do not hesitate to ask help because arthritis is a manageable and treatable condition if you seek treatment and act as early as possible.
  • Stay physically active. Lack of joint movement can worsen your arthritis so it is important to stay physically active to achieve arthritis freedom. Idleness or sedentary lifestyle doubles your risk of developing arthritis due to inactivity and lack of joint movement. Don’t be a couch potato, limit your TV watching or computer usage and engage in more physically active activities and hobbies. Moderate regular physical activities like walking and swimming can be very beneficial for people with arthritis. If you have severe arthritis, it is important to ask your doctor or health provider about the best exercises applicable for your condition. But bottom line, an active life can save you from the disability brought by arthritis.
  • Lose weight. Obesity increases the risk of people in developing arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension. For people with arthritis, maintaining a healthy weight can prevent the progression of arthritis. A healthy weight reduces the risk of people from developing arthritis and helps people suffering from arthritis to lessen the symptoms and function better in their daily lives. A weight loss program can be very helpful for you to maintain an ideal weight. Losing weight is measured in small successes and often frustrating but you need to remind yourself that you need patience and dedication to achieve your ideal weight and eventually achieve arthritis freedom.
  • Eat a healthy well-balanced diet. Diet plays an important role in managing arthritis. The kind of diet you follow could influence the occurrence of arthritis. Because there are various types of arthritis, no single diet plan will work for everyone but following a diet based on moderation, balance and variety could be very beneficial to your arthritis. Eating foods good for your arthritis will help you achieve arthritis freedom. Eat more fish to get more omega-3 fatty acid which is beneficial in healing joint inflammation. Avoid red meat because it promotes inflammation leading to arthritis. Eat fish as a replacement for red meat. Cut down on fats, avoid foods rich in saturated fats and avoid processed foods. Eating a healthy well-balanced diet is not only good for your arthritis but also to your overall health.
  • Avoid smoking. We all know that smoking is not good for our health especially on the lungs but there are studies stating that smoking intensifies the inflammation levels of the body, thus increasing the risk of smokers for developing arthritis. you also have to know that inflammation is the underlying cause of arthritis. Avoid smoking if you want to achieve arthritis freedom. Nicotine which is the main substance found in cigarettes is not only bad for arthritis but it is also not good for your over-all health. Save your lungs and stop the progression of your arthritis by avoiding smoking.
  • Protect your joints. As mentioned earlier, arthritis affects the joints and if you want to achieve arthritis freedom, you have to protect your joints. Avoid activities that will hurt and stress your joints. Having a job with repetitive motion puts a lot of stress on the joints, if it is possible, avoid stress and repetitive motion. Balance physical activities with rest, be careful with your everyday tasks and accomplish your tasks in ways that will not stress your joints.

Arthritis and Occupational Disability

Definition of Disability

Long Term Disability Insurance definitions vary. Here are some typical ones:

you are disabled when the Insurance Company determines that:

    • you are limited from performing the material and substantial duties of your regular occupation due to your sickness or injury; and – you have a 20% or more loss in your indexed monthly earnings due to the same sickness or injury.

After 36 months of payments, you are disabled the Insurance Company determines that due to the same sickness or injury, you are unable to perform the duties of any gainful occupation for which you are reasonably fitted by education, training or experience

Note how the definition changes after 36 months.

Here is another

Total Disability or Totally Disabled means during your Elimination Period and the next Own Occupation Period (shown in the Benefit Highlights), you, because of your Injury or Sickness, are unable to perform the Material and Substantial Duties of your Own Occupation.  After Total or’ Partial Disability benefits combined have been paid to you for Own Occupation Period (shown in the Benefit Highlights), you will continue to be considered Totally Disabled if you are unable to perform, with reasonable continuity, any Gainful Occupation for which you are or become reasonably qualified for by education, training or experience.

And another

you will be considered totally disabled if all these conditions are met:

  1. you are unable to do the substantial and material duties of your regular occupation.  your regular occupation is your usual work when total disability starts.  If you are retired and not working when total disability starts, your regular occupation will be the normal activities of a retired person of like age; and
  2. your total disability starts while this policy is in force; and
  3. your total disability results from sickness or injury; and
  4. you are receiving medical care from a doctor which is appropriate for the injury or sickness.  When in the opinion of the doctor future care would be of no benefit to you, then the requirement of receiving medical care will be considered to be met.  Doctor means all providers of medical care other than yourself, when such services are within the scope of the provider’s licensed authority.

And California has its own common law definition

California law requires courts to deviate from total disability definitions in some instances Hangarter v. Provident Life and Acc. Ins. Co, 373 F.3d 998, 1006 (9th Cir. 2004). Sometimes, it’s called the Erreca standard. California requires when coverage for “any occupation” is too narrow, the Court must read a common sense definition into the policy based on two cases.  Erreca v. Western States Life Insurance Company, 19 Cal. 2d 388 (Cal. 1942), and Moore v. American United Life Insurance Company, 150 Cal. App. 3d 610 (Cal. Ct. App. 1984). These two cases, when read together define total disability “does not signify an absolute state of helplessness but means such a disability as renders the insured unable to perform the substantial and material acts necessary to the prosecution of a business or occupation in the usual or customary way.”