Arthritis: Causes and Treatments

Arthritis seems to be one of the illnesses old people suffer. It is a joint disorder featuring inflammation. A joint is that area of the body where two different bones meet. A joint functions to move the body parts connected by its bones.

In various climes of the world, a large cases of arthritis are related to the ageing process. This is because, the joints become subject to wear and tear (like the rest of our bodies) over the years and this damage shows up as conditions such as arthritis.

Some medical personnels are of the view, arthrities does not only affect the older ones, but can be found in children also. Arthritis sufferers include men and women, children and adults.

This then tells us arthritis are of various types as they come with different symptoms. 

A doctor with specialty in arthritis and related diseases is called a Rheumatologist

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Types of Arthritis:

The two common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Osteoarthritis (OA) is a painful, degenerative joint disease that often involves the hips, knees, neck, lower back, or small joints of the hands. OA usually develops in joints that are injured by repeated overuse from performing a particular task or playing a favorite sport or from carrying around excess body weight. Eventually this injury or repeated impact thins or wears away the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones in the joint. As a result, the bones rub together, causing a grating sensation. Joint flexibility is reduced, bony spurs develop, and the joint swells. Usually, the first symptom of OA is pain that worsens following exercise or immobility.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune inflammatory disease that usually involves various joints in the fingers, thumbs, wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees, feet, and ankles. An autoimmune disease is one in which the body releases enzymes that attack its own healthy tissues. In RA, these enzymes destroy the linings of joints. This causes pain, swelling, stiffness, malformation, and reduced movement and function. People with RA also may have systemic symptoms, such as fatigue, fever, weight loss, eye inflammation, anemia, subcutaneous nodules (bumps under the skin), or pleurisy (a lung inflammation).

Causes of Arthritis

This area is so confusing to many. However, the causes of arthritis depend on the form of arthritis. Causes can include injury (leading to osteoarthritis), metabolic abnormalities (such as gout and pseudogout), hereditary factors, the direct and indirect effect of infections (bacterial and viral), and a misdirected immune system with autoimmunity (such as in rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus).

 Arthritis Symptoms

Joint pain can be caused by injury affecting any of the ligaments. Other revealing symptoms of arthritis include pain and limited function of joints. Joint inflammation from arthritis is characterized by joint stiffnessswellingredness, pain, and warmth. Tenderness of the inflamed joint can be present with or without pain. When large joints are involved, such as the knee, there can be loss of cartilage with limitation of motion from the joint damage. When arthritis affects the small joints in fingers, there can be bone growth and loss of hand grip and grip strength of the hand.

Many of the forms of arthritis, because they are rheumatic diseases, can cause symptoms affecting various organs of the body that do not directly involve the joints. Therefore, symptoms in some patients with certain forms of arthritis can also include fever, gland swelling (swollen lymph nodes), weight loss, fatigue, feeling unwell, and even symptoms from abnormalities of organs such as the lungs, heart, or kidneys.

How to Diagnose Arthritis

Ideally, when you feel an overbearing pain in any part of the body, you consult a physician. The case of arthritis is no different. The doctor will review the history of symptoms, examine the joints for inflammation and deformity.  Certain blood, urine, joint fluid, and/or X-ray tests might be taken. The diagnosis will be based on the pattern of symptoms, the distribution of the inflamed joints, and any blood and X-ray findings.

Earlier and accurate diagnosis can help to prevent irreversible damage and disability. Properly guided programs of exercise and rest, medications, physical therapy, and surgery options can idealize long-term outcomes for those with arthritis. Exercise and exercise routines can be helpful in providing joint stability by strengthening the musculoskeletal system while improving balance. Physical therapists can provide the care needed for properly guided exercise regimens.

Treatment options for Arthritis:

Treatment usually includes analgesics, topical creams, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, appropriate exercises or physical therapy; joint splinting; or joint replacement surgery for seriously damaged larger joints, such as the knee or hip.  Also, diets rich in calcium and vitamin D, regular weight-bearing exercise, and a healthy lifestyle can prevent or lessen the effects of the disease.


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