Page 14 WiregrassSeniorsMagazine.com Rheumatology Mythbusters: Nearly 50 million U.S. adults—and 300,000 children—suffer from arthritis and other rheumatic diseases, and there are many myths surrounding arthritis. Here are some common myths, as busted by the American College of Rheumatology: Myth: Arthritis is one disease. Truth: Arthritis is an umbrella term used to describe over 100 medical conditions and diseases, known as rheumatic diseases, including rheumatoid arthri- tis, lupus and gout. Myth: Arthritis is an older person’s disease. Kids don’t get arthritis. Truth: Arthritis and other rheumatic diseases do not discriminate by age. RA often begins between the 30s and 50s. About one child in every 1,000 develops a type of juvenile arthritis. Myth: Rheumatic diseases aren’t nearly as com- mon as other diseases. Truth: In the U.S. alone, there are nearly 50 million adults and 300,000 children with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases. 60 percent of people with RA are unable to work 10 years after disease onset. Myth: Any doctor can treat my rheumatic disease. Truth: While primary care physicians are an impor- tant part of your health care team, you may need to see a rheumatologist (a physician who specializes in rheumatic diseases). Myth: Smoking does not increase my risk for devel- oping an autoimmune disorder. Truth: Smoking increases the risk for developing autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus – and it appears to create worse symptoms. Myth: Exercise should be avoided if you have arthritis. Truth: Physically active individuals are healthier, happier and live longer than those who are inactive and unfit, including people with rheumatic diseases. Myth: My weight has no impact on my arthritis. Truth: Some studies show that even a small amount of weight loss can help ease arthritis pain – particularly in the knees and hips.