Arthritis is a very common ailment but not very well understood. In essence, arthritis is an inflammation of your joints. A person can have arthritis in one joint or multiple joints. It is not a single disease, rather, "arthritis" means joint pain or joint disease.
There are more than hundreds of different types of arthritis or joint disease and related conditions. They each have different causes and different ways of treatment. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability and can affect all people of different ages, sex and race. According to studies, more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some type of arthritis. Women are more prone to this disease. It also occurs more commonly and worsen as people get older.
There are two most common types of arthritis: Osteoarthritis (OA) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage (the hard, slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones where they form a joint) to break down. On the other hand, Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that targets the lining of the joints.
Symptoms of Arthritis
The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness which usually develop within a span of time, but in some cases, they may also appear without warning. While arthritis can also develop in children and younger adults, it most commonly observed in adults of 65 years of age. Also, this ailment is more typically in women than in men and in overweight people.
- Joint pain
- Decreased range of motion
- Redness of the skin around the affected joint
- Feeling tired
- Loss of appetite due to inflammation
- May become anemic
- Slight fever
Treatments for arthritis vary according to the type. The main goal and priority is to address the symptoms and improve the quality of life of the patient. It is important to reduce the amount of pain the person is experiencing as well as prevent further damage to the affected joint.
Over time, your doctor and you will have developed a good strategy and learn what works best for you in terms of managing the pain. Most common treatment to soothe the affected area is to apply heating pads or ice packs. You can also use mobility assistance devices such as walkers or canes to lessen the pressure off sore and inflamed joints. For people suffering arthritis, improving joint function and range of movement is also vital. Patients can opt to do physical therapy. This is a core component of arthritis treatment to help strengthen the muscles in and around the joints.