Did you know that Arthritis is one of the most deadly diseases? It is true! Arthritis currently affects over 40 million Americans and that number is expected to rise to 60 million .
What exactly is Arthritis?
Basically, Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. Arthritis is a general term applied to a number of painful conditions affecting the joints and bones.
Arthritis is usually associated with people who are older, but can also affect people at any age, even children. This is called Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.
There are several types of arthritis that is inherited, but most are not. Some forms of arthritis show a very strong tendency to be hereditary. Currently there are more than 100 types of Arthritis and that number continues to rise.
Types of Arthritis
Osteoarthritis Arthritis: Osteoarthritis is the result of degenerative joint disease, or simply wear and tear on the joints.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: Rheumatoid Arthritis is the result of an over active Immune System that results in inflammation
Gout Arthritis: Gout is the oldest form of Arthritis and is the result of too much Uric Acid. The Uric Acid deposits crystals in the joints, leading to Gouty Arthritis.
Joint pain, is common in all people with Arthritis, and is referred to as arthralgia. Not only joints are vulnerable to attack, but the surrounding muscles, tissues, and organs are also vulnerable to the effects of arthritis as well. In fact, Arthritis has been known to attack the heart, kidneys, lungs, and liver.
Many people mistakenly believe that Arthritis is a disease that only affects older people. It just isn’t the case. Yes it is true that older people , especially older women, are more prone to Arthritis, but the average age for the onset of arthritis is 47 years old, and patients generally suffer from between the ages of 20-50.
One of the most damaging effects of Arthritis is that it is a chronic condition. Arthritis is so terrible that it only grow worse with time. In fact, arthritis is so detrimental that the diseases instill chronic physical disabilities.
The main symptoms of arthritis are stiffness and pain in certain joints. There may also be some limited movement of the affected joints along with some swelling and redness over the joints in a number of cases. The specific symptoms again will depend on the type of arthritis you are suffering even though most of the types of arthritis all include problems created by the inflammation and swelling of joints.
- Decreased range of motion
- joint pain, tenderness and stiffness
- inflammation in and around the joints
- restricted movement of the joints
- warm red skin over the affected joint
- weakness and muscle wasting
The cause of arthritis is not fully known, however, several factors that can contribute include obesity and jobs that puts repetitive movements of a particular joint. This includes sports persons, for example, players tend to develop arthritis in the knees and ankles as a consequence of injury to this part of the body. There is no evidence, however, to suggest that people who are physically active and injured through sport have a higher risk of arthritis. Some studies suggest that uric acid may sometimes be a factor to cause arthritis.
Each of the different forms of arthritis may require different type of treatment and management of the condition. First, you must determine what type of arthritis you have, once you do that, and then you can look for right treatments.
One thing that is common though in most forms of arthritis, is that early treatment is very important because this will mean that further damage to the joints is reduced and your quality of life increases.
A number of medical professionals will be involved in your care. They might include a doctor, an arthritis specialist, and a physiotherapist among many others.
The major thing is to be able to reduce the inflammation and swelling of the affected joints. This can be done through a variety of drugs and some kind of physiotherapy.
Some people with arthritis find the condition so debilitating and painful, that they resort to joint replacement
Some steps and treatment plans used by Arthritis patients include:
Losing weight (thereby reducing stress and strain on the joints)
Improve their nutritional intake
Reduce Stress (both physical and emotional)
Participating in Gentle Stress Free Exercises such as Stretching
Using both Hot and Cold Therapy
Protect joints by using splints and Braces