The inflammation of the joints across different parts of the body is called arthritis. There are over 100 types of arthritis,each having its own cause and method of treatment.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a complex family of joint disorders involving inflammation of one or more joints. It affects the musculoskeletal system which provides form, stability, support and movement to the body. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, one in every five American adults has doctor-diagnosed arthritis.Joint pain and stiffness are the primary symptoms of arthritis, which typically worsen with age. Research has shown that as the American population ages, the number of arthritis patients will increase to 67% by the year 2030.
One of the most common types of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which usually affects elderly patients. There are various other forms of arthritisthat affect people at a very early age.The condition is more common among women than men and can affect all races, groups and cultures.
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Types and causes of arthritis
The cause of arthritis depends on its form. There are different causes of arthritis including injury, which can lead to degenerative arthritis; inheritance can be the cause of osteoarthritis and an overactive immune system can lead to rheumatoid arthritis.
There are various forms of arthritis that are caused by reduction in the cartilage tissue, a flexible and connective tissue that protects the joints and allows smoother movement while walking or running. Osteoarthritis is one of them. This type of arthritisis caused by the ordinary wear and tear of life. As mentioned above, the risk of developing osteoarthritis may be higher if there is history of the disease in the family.
Another common form is rheumatoid arthritis that occurs when thebody’s immune system attacks the tissues of the body. This type of arthritis can lead to the destruction of bone and cartilage inside the joint. Juvenile arthritis is another form of the disease, which is most common in children and adolescents (below 16 years of age). Reduced physical activity and poor appetite are common symptoms of juvenile arthritis.
What are the symptoms of arthritis?
Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints, but different types of arthritis have their own symptoms. Common symptoms of arthritis include pain and limited function of joints. Patients suffering from this condition may also experience symptomslike decrease in range of motion of joints, swelling and redness of skin around the joint.
Different forms of arthritis can show symptoms differently. Some affect organs of the body that do not directly involve the joints. However, symptoms in some patients with certain forms of arthritis include gland swelling, fever, weight loss, fatigue and even signs of abnormalities in organs like the lungs, heart or kidneys.
If the patient is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, then he/she may experience tiredness, loss of appetite, decreased red blood cell generationor a slight fever. Furthermore, severe rheumatoid arthritis can cause joint deformity, if it goes untreated.
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Treatment of arthritis
The primary goal of treatment focuses on relieving the symptoms of arthritisand improving joint function. The method of treatment is dependent on the type of arthritis. Here are some of the options:
• Medication This can help relieve symptoms of arthritis. The doctor may advise you to take Acetaminophen as the first-line medicine to treat osteoarthritis; non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Ibuprofen are prescribed for inflammatory arthritis. To treat rheumatoid arthritis, anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS) like Methotrexate are recommended, as they act on the immune system and slow progression of the disease.
• Physical therapyTo ease joint stiffness, patients may be advised to take long and warm showers, especially in the morning. To keep joints loose, using a heating pad at nightmay be recommended. For quick relief from painful joints, you may be asked to place a bag of frozen vegetables where it hurts.
• SurgeryIf medication and home remedies prove ineffective, surgery is the only option. In thesecircumstances, joint replacement therapy is performed. This treatment removes damaged joints and replaces them with artificial ones.
Arthritis is a painful condition that makes the simplest tasks difficult to do. To lead a better quality life, you must seek proper medical attention and treatment. Although there is no cure for arthritis, following the tips mentioned above can help minimize its overall impact on your lifestyle.