Despite being a well known disease for sometime, true understanding of the disease is lacking. Arthritis can simply be defined as the inflammation of the joints. This happens most times when people start to feel pain and stiffness in their bodies over time. Sometimes their hands or knees or shoulders get sore and are hard to move and may become swollen.
It is largely common among adults aged 65 years or older, but people of all ages (including children) can be affected by it too. Symptoms generally include joint pain and stiffness. Other symptoms may include redness, warmth, swelling, and decreased range of motion of the affected joints. These symptoms usually develop over time, but they may also appear suddenly. Recorded cases are more in women than men and in those who are overweight.
In some cases in which arthritis occurs, other organs, such as your eyes, your chest, or your skin, can also be affected.
•What Are the Types of Arthritis?
There are several types of arthritis. The two most common ones are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
This is the most common form of arthritis. This condition usually comes with age and most often affects the fingers, knees, and hips. Sometimes osteoarthritis follows an injury to a joint. For example, a young person might hurt his knee badly playing soccer. Or, someone might fall or be injured in a car accident. Then, years after the individuals knee has apparently healed, he might get arthritis in his knee joint.
Most times also, in order to compensate for the loss of cartilage and changes in joint function, the body begins to remodel the bone in an attempt to restore stability. This can cause undesirable bony growths to develop (osteophytes), or cause the joint to become misshapen. This condition is commonly called osteoarthritis.
- RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS
This happens when the body’s own defense system doesn’t work properly. It affects joints and bones (often of the hands and feet), and may also affect internal organs and systems. You may feel sick or tired, and you may have a fever.
Persistent inflammation in the synovial leads to the degeneration of cartilage and bone, which can then lead to joint deformity, pain, swelling and redness. Rheumatoid arthritis causes premature mortality, disability and compromises quality of life.
The onset of Rheumatoid can occur at any age and is associated with fatigue and prolonged stiffness after rest. Individuals with rheumatoid have a more severe functional status than those with osteoarthritis. Diagnosing rheumatoid early gives people a better chance to learn how to manage symptoms successfully. This can reduce the impact of the disease on quality of life.
•Treatment of Arthritis✓
We will take a brief look at these treatment options.
- Physical Therapy
Physical therapy involving exercises that help strengthen the muscles around the affected joint is a core component of arthritis treatment. In general, studies have shown that physical exercise of the affected joint can noticeably improve long-term pain relief. Furthermore, exercise of the arthritic joint is encouraged to maintain the health of the particular joint and the overall body of the person.
There are several types of medications that are used for the treatment of arthritis. Treatment typically begins with medications that have the fewest side effects with further medications being added if insufficiently effective.
Depending on the type of arthritis, the medications that are given may be different. They include:
- Analgesics, e.g., hydrocodone (Vicodin).
- acetaminophen (Tylenol): effective for pain management, but don’t help decrease inflammation.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), e.g., ibuprofen: help control pain and inflammation.
- Menthol or capsaicin creams: block the transmission of pain signals from your joints.
Surgery to replace your joint with an artificial one may be an option. A number of surgical interventions have been incorporated in the treatment of arthritis since the 1950s. Arthroscopic surgery for osteoarthritis of the knee provides no additional benefit to optimized physical and medical therapy.
If your pain is most severe in your fingers or wrists, your doctor may perform a joint fusion. In this procedure, the ends of your bones are locked together until they heal and become one.