The main problem with many types of arthritis is joint inflammation. Arthritis is an autoimmune condition that attacks healthy cells instead of just bad ones. This is what causes the inflammation.

How important is it to control inflammation symptoms? Not surprisingly, it is very important. People tend to think that as long as they can handle the pain, they don't need to take medicine.

But that's not true. If you are having inflammation symptoms, it is important to speak to your doctor about an appropriate treatment strategy.

Treatment strategies may include prescription medicine, pain relievers, exercise, or dieting, depending on your individual circumstances.

Whatever the treatment strategy might be between you and your doctor, it is important to have one. Why? Well, at least one reason is the fact that inflammation itself, if left untreated, could potentially result in additional health problems down the road.

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The damage of untreated inflammation

According to an article published by the Arthritis Foundation, inflammation increases risk for heart disease. Since arthritis causes inflammation, especially rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, people with arthritis have been shown to be at a greater risk.

What this means is that if you can control inflammation, you may be reducing your risk factors significantly. Less inflammatory episodes result not only in less pain, but also less long-term health risk factors.

This will make you feel better and contribute to overall health, killing two birds in one stone.

So even if your inflammation "isn't giving you trouble yet," you should consider your treatment options.

Medicine works, but lifestyle changes help big time too

You might find out you don't need to take medicine. Physical therapy and home remedies like hot and cold pads might be all you need for now.

In fact, a number of heart disease risk factors can be decreased through actionable lifestyle decisions. This includes things like maintaining a healthy weight, staying active, eating healthy and not smoking.

There are many health conditions and risk factors we do not have any control over. That's why it's so important to do what we can when we can.

Inflammation is nothing to play around with. Those of you who have had painful episodes know this to be true. But the good news is there are things you can do to reduce it. Staying on top of arthritis will lead to a happier, healthier you.

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