The term arthritis includes any condition that affects joints. Arthro, in Greek, means joint and itis means inflammation. Arthritis means inflammation of the joints. A joint is where two bones meet and it functions to facilitate movement. Arthritis can affect one or more joints. Arthritis is also one of the rheumatic diseases and can affect muscles, joints, tendons, cartilage and ligament. There are more than 100 types of arthritis and the most common forms are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease). The autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis usually affects feet and hands, whereas osteoarthritis affects hips, knees and fingers. Osteoarthritis occurs with age. Other Septic arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus and gout are different types of rheumatic disease. Around 0.24% of people are affected by rheumatoid arthritis and over 3.8% of people are affected by osteoarthritis. The disease can lead to decreased life quality. Arthritis is commonly seen in women than men and in people above the age of 65. The disease can also occur in teens, children and young adults. And it is also more common in those who are overweight. Also Read - IPL 2020 Points Table Today Latest Update After KKR vs KXIP, Match 46: Kings XI Punjab Move to Fourth Spot After Win Over Kolkata Knight Riders; KL Rahul Extends Lead Over Orange Cap, Mohammed Shami Grabs 2nd Spot in Purple Cap Tally
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The causes are different for various forms of arthritis. Systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis are autoimmune disorders. It happens when the immune system of the body attack the body tissue. These autoimmune attacks negatively affect the synovium, which is a tissue in the joint that act as a lubricant and nourishes the joint cartilage. This can eventually destroy both cartilage and bone in the joint.
Pseudogout and gout are caused due to metabolic abnormality and an injury or infection can result in osteoarthritis. One of the most common factors that cause osteoarthritis is the normal wear and tear of tissues in the joints.
Other causes include hereditary factors, viral or bacterial infection. One of the most important non-genetic factors that could lead to rheumatoid arthritis is smoking. Rheumatoid arthritis is found more common in smokers as compared to non-smokers, especially in men.
A decrease in the normal level of cartilage in the joint can result in the some types of arthritis. Cartilage is a flexible but firm connective tissue in the joint and it protects the bones from shock and pressure created by your movement.
What are the symptoms and signs of arthritis?
The arthritis symptoms often develop gradually but there are cases where the symptoms appeared all of a sudden. The most common symptom in almost all types of arthritis is the pain in the joints. Other symptoms include stiffness in the joints, swelling, warmth, redness and decreased body movement. Other body organs can also get affected by other types of arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. It can result in symptoms like weight loss, malaise, stiffness, fatigue, inability to walk or use the hand, tenderness, muscle aches and poor sleep.
In the advanced stage of arthritis, the patient could experience secondary changes like loss of flexibility, muscle weakness and lower aerobic fitness.
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What are the treatments for arthritis?
The treatment options for arthritis depend on the type of the disorder. It includes lifestyle changes, physical therapy, medications and orthopedic bracing. The main aim of the medication and other treatment options is to prevent any more damage to the joints and to decrease the pain caused by the disease. Another important part of the treatment is to improve the function of your joint. A combination of treatment options is prescribed to the patients for the best result.
Physical therapy, which includes physical exercise, improves the joint health and lowers pain. Exercises also maintain the overall health of the patient. It will help in gaining muscle strength. The patients who undergo physical therapy have shown improvement in body function, delayed the requirement for a surgical intervention and lowered the pain. The doctors prescribe these physical exercises and it has shown to be better than medications for osteoarthritis. These exercises are aimed at improving flexibility, muscle strength and endurance. In many cases, exercises are designed to provide balance. Anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen are given to control inflammation and pain.
Medications are used to treat the pain and inflammation of the joints. It is said that reducing the inflammation may lead to slower joint damage. There are many medications available for arthritis treatment. Analgesics like acetaminophen or hydrocodone is given for pain management. Capsaicin or menthol creams are given to block the pain signal transmission. Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are given to suppress the immune system. Medications are selected depending on the type of arthritis. Usually, medicines with least side-effects are given to the patient at first and then more medication is given if the earlier medication is ineffective in reducing the pain and the inflammation.
For eroding type of arthritis, joint replacement surgery may be needed. Your joint is replaced with an artificial one in such surgery. The most commonly performed surgeries are knees and hips replacement surgeries. If the condition is severe in your wrists and fingers, a joint fusion surgery is performed, in which the bone ends are locked together and let it heal and become fused.