Did you know arthritis affects one in every three Americans — more than 66 million people. Arthritis does not discriminate. People of all ages, races and ethnicities have arthritis.

Arthritis is an umbrella term used to describe more than 100 different diseases. The two most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

The warning signs of arthritis include pain, stiffness, swelling and difficulty moving a joint. But even without these classic warning signs, you may still be at risk for arthritis. Some of the risk factors are genetic traits, excess weight, and injury or overuse of joints.

If diagnosed with arthritis, there are ways to protect your joints from further damage. Along with medications, staying physically active and making healthy food choices can actually help ease the pain on your affected joints.

Come to Penn State Cooperative Extension’s “Growing Stronger for Life” conference to learn about this disease and steps you can take to prevent and treat arthritis. Choose to attend the conference from 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 11 or from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Oct. 18. Experts in the field of arthritis will present information on what you can do to maintain, or even increase, the mobility in your joints affected by arthritis.

Conference speakers include:

• Brett R. Smith, M.D., M.S. from Allegheny General Hospital/Allegheny Orthopaedic Associates, will discuss how to manage your arthritis including conservative and operative options for treatment of arthritis to promote a better lifestyle.

• Diane Horneman, MSN, CRNP from Meadville Medical Center will cover common myths about pain and its management, and what can be done at a pain clinic to treat arthritis pain.

• Linda Spanos, Ph.D, pharmacologist from Primary Health Network and Magee Women’s Hospital, will discuss the role of nutrition and integrative medicine for the treatment of arthritis.

• Jon Kolb, M.S., exercise physiologist from Specialty Orthopaedics and retired Pittsburgh Steeler, will present information on the importance of physical activity to improve and alleviate symptoms of arthritis.

The cost is $5 a person. Pre-registration is required since seating is limited. For a registration brochure, contact the extension office at 724-662-3141 ext. 306 or download the form at http://mercer.extension.psu.edu. Credit card registrations may be made over the phone.

Katherine A. French is an extension educator and registered dietitian with Mercer County Cooperative Extension.

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