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What is Arthritis?

what is arthritis

Are you wondering “what is arthritis?” This post can help you broaden your understanding of what arthritis is, and what actions you can take to help prohibit or slow the beginning of arthritis. Medical care can vary depending on the type of arthritis. The main purpose of arthritis treatment is to lessen the symptoms and enhance the quality of life.

Just What Is Arthritis?

Arthritis is not that rare but it is still not fully understood. Obviously, “arthritis” is not a particular disease; it is a just a simple way of referring to joint disease and/ or pain. There are more than 100 distinctive types of arthritis and associated conditions. People of all ages, sexes and races can and do suffer from arthritis. Arthritis is the main cause of disability in the U.S. At the minimum, approximately 50 million adults and around 300,000 children have some form of arthritis. It is more common among women and develops more often as people get older.

Some more common arthritis symptoms include the swelling of joints, pain, reduced range of motion and stiffness. These arthritis symptoms can come and go. They can range from minor or moderate and in certain cases severe. They may be continual for years, but may advance or worsen as time goes on. Acute arthritis can bring about chronic pain, the inability to do daily activities and make it difficult to walk or climb stairs. Arthritis can also lead to long lasting joint changes. These effects can be noticeable, such as contorted finger joints, but usually the impairment can only be seen by X-ray. Some types of arthritis can also affect the eyes, lungs, heart, kidneys, and skin including the joints.

There Are Numerous Types Of Arthritis:

Degenerative Arthritis

Osteoarthritis is one the most common types of arthritis. When the cartilage in the middle of the bones wears away, the bones start rubbing together, creating swelling, stiffness and pain. As time goes on, the joints will lose their toughness and pain can become incessant. Some factors can involve excess weight, family history, age or a prior injury, like an ACL injury.

When the symptoms of osteoarthritis are mild or bearable, they can be handled by:

  • Balancing exercise with plenty of rest
  • Utilizing hot and cold therapy
  • Routine physical activities
  • Keeping a normal weight
  • Strengthening the muscles around the joints
  • Using equipment for support
  • Taking OTC pain medications or anti-inflammatory treatments
  • Avoiding to many repeated movements

If joint symptoms start to become more severe, causing restricted mobility and most important, affecting the quality of life, many of the above plans of action may be helpful, but joint replacement may also be unavoidable.

Osteoarthritis can hampered by continuing to stay active, managing a healthy diet and weight, and preventing injury and repetitive motions.

Inflammatory Arthritis

A strong, healthy immune system is very defensive. It develops internal inflammation to get rid of any infection and curb disease. But every now and then the immune system can get unstable, mistakenly attacking the joints with uncontrolled inflammation, maybe causing joint erosion and may damage internal organs, the eyes or other parts of the body. Rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis are some types of inflammatory arthritis. Researchers believe that a blend of genetics and environmental factors can cause autoimmunity. Smoking is a prime example of an environmental risk factor that can trigger rheumatoid arthritis in people with certain genetics.

With autoimmune and inflammatory types of arthritis, early diagnosis and intrusive treatment are very important factors. Hindering the disease activity can help cut down or even prevent long lasting joint damage from developing. Remission is the main objective and may be reached with the use of one or more medications recognized as disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs or DMARDs. The main intention of treatment is to reduce the pain, increase function, and limit further joint damage.

Infectious Arthritis

Fungus, bacteria, and viruses can invade the joint and cause inflammation. Some examples of organisms that can infect joints are salmonella and shigella (food poisoning or food contamination), Chlamydia and gonorrhea (STDs) and hepatitis C (a blood to blood infection, most likely through sharing needles or blood transfusions). In some cases, prompt treatment with antibiotics may clear up the joint infection, but sometimes the arthritis can become chronic.

Metabolic Arthritis

Uric acid is created as the body breaks down purines, a substance found in human cells and also in many foods. Some people have higher levels of uric acid because they naturally generates more than what is needed or the body can’t get rid of the uric acid fast enough. In some people, the uric acid builds up and forms needle-like crystals in the joint, resulting in sudden spikes of severe joint pain, or a gout bombardment. Gout can come and go in bouts or, if the uric acid levels aren’t decreased, it can become chronic, causing continuing pain and disability.

Diagnosing Arthritis

Arthritis diagnosis, in most cases begins with a primary care physician, who will perform a physical exam, blood tests and an MRI or X-rays, to determine what type of arthritis it is. A rheumatologist or arthritis expert should be involved if the analysis is unclear or if the arthritis may be inflammatory. Rheumatologists mostly manage continuous treatment for inflammatory arthritis, types of gout and other complicated cases. Orthopedic surgeons can carry out joint surgery, as well as replacing joints. When the arthritis affects other parts of the body or systems, other specialists, may also be needed.

What Can Be Done About Arthritis?

There are a lot of steps that can be taken to manage normal joint function, the ability to be mobile and quality of life. Understanding more about the disease and its treatment choices, making more time for physical activities and maintain a healthy weight is important. Arthritis is a largely misinterpreted disease.

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