Have you experienced joint pains which are affecting your quality of life? If you notice inflammation at the site of pain, it could be arthritis which is known as one of the rheumatic diseases. Arthritis indicates a series of conditions which are individual illnesses and treatment; symptoms and complications vary for each type. Here’s a comprehensive guide on all you need to know about arthritis and how you can manage the condition should you experience it.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis basically is a disorder in the joints characterized by inflammation. Arthritis is usually inflammation of one or more joints and accompanied by joint pain. The term arthritis can be used to describe more than 200 conditions which affect joints, tissues around the joint and connective tissues
Who tends to get Arthritis?
Arthritis tends to affect elderly people but it can affect people of all ages including children. But it has been noticed that a majority of the sufferers are women.
What are the Symptoms of Arthritis?
- Limited function of the joint
- Pain in the joints
- Inflammation with swelling, redness, and warmth
- In extreme cases, loss of range of motion of the joint and deformity
- Tenderness of inflamed joint
- Fatigue and malaise
- Some types cause an acute flare-up
- In many forms of arthritis, organs of the body which do not involve joints may also be affected.
- Rarely, abnormalities of organs like lungs and kidneys.
Causes of Arthritis
Many times, the causes are unknown. However, some of the risk factors include:
- Age: With increased age, your joints get worn out.
- Gender: More women than men are affected by arthritis
- Genes: Certain conditions like rheumatoid arthritis are linked to certain genes.
- Injuries: They can cause joint damage in some cases
- Excess weight: Knee arthritis can cause arthritis in the knees.
- Autoimmune problems: Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis are caused by attacking the lining of your joints.
- Infections: Many infections can also cause arthritis.
What happens when you have Arthritis?
- Skin Nodules: Many people develop lumps of tissue under the skin
- Rashes: In the case of RA, small, red rashes are sometimes observed
- Bone thinning: Chronic inflammation from arthritis leads to loss of bone density
- Eyes: Dryness and inflammation of eyes
- The kidneys, heart, blood vessels, liver etc. could also be affected.
What is the best Treatment for Arthritis?
Treatment might involve:
- Medications: Initial treatment involves medication and for conditions like osteoarthritis, pain reducing medications provide great relief. Other commonly used drugs include analgesics, NSAIDs, counterirritants etc.
- Physical or occupational therapy: Physical therapies help overcome the challenges with mobility. Occupational therapy helps in protecting the joints from further damage.
- Other treatment programs include weight loss, joint injections, and in extreme cases, surgery for joint replacement. The patient can also follow natural diet changes and they should be educated all about the illness and appropriate support is provided.
The treatment varies according to the type of arthritis and also the individual conditions.
Can you be Cured of Arthritis?
According to CDC (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention), most forms of arthritis have no cure. However early diagnosis and management helps contain inflammatory arthritis to a great extent and improves quality of life. Sometimes, remission is mistaken for the cure. But is just the absence of clinical symptoms. While a small percentage of patients who are in remission may be able to discontinue their medications, most need to continue on the medication to remain in remission.
What not to eat when you have Arthritis?
Certain foods are known to worsen arthritis and hence they should be avoided. Avoid inflammatory foods and those that make you put on weight. Red meat, sugar and refined flour, fried foods, gluten based foods and alcohol need to be avoided.
What are the foods recommended for Arthritis?
Research suggests using Boswellia from the frankincense tree; rosehip etc. can help deal with arthritis. Turmeric is also said to be of help alongside herbs and spices like garlic, ginger, green tea and black pepper. They can be purchased online in supplement form as well.
Are there ways to Prevent Arthritis?
The current focus is on early diagnosis and treatment. This causes less damage, deformity, disability and may also reduce mortality rates. The treatment is effective and easier when administered early. Maintaining a good lifestyle and health alongside exercise and nutrition can help in preventing arthritis.