The condition of swelling and the tenderness of one or more joints in the body is known as arthritis. The condition is characterized by acute to mild persisting joint pain and stiffness, which tend to worsen with age.
Pain in joint and stiffness are the most common symptoms of arthritis. This pain and stiffness are witnessed to worsen with age. It can be said that the diseases that affect the joints are known as arthritis. There are about a hundred different types of arthritis. The most common arthritis is known as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Further, this tenderness or swelling in the joints greatly affect the movement of an individual and hence should be treated with proper medications. The joints are damaged in this form of diseases and are caused due to different reasons like age, genetics, obesity and similar other things as such which have been discussed below.
What are the Symptoms of Arthritis?
As stated earlier that arthritis is of two types which are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. So depending upon the type of arthritis the symptoms varies. It may be stiffness, pain, swelling, and redness, decreased range of motion, warmth in the joints, fatigue, and limited range of motion. Other than this the patients also experience increased redness in joints and in severe cases it can lead to deformation of joints. The complication in this form of the disease may also increase due to age. The symptoms must be recognized at an early stage to prevent the disease from getting worsened. Also, arthritis can prevail for a considerable period. It is quite obvious that any form of the disease, if untreated, gets worse over time. Similarly, arthritis pain can also reduce the quality of life and also can make a person unable to perform any activity.
What are the common problems that Arthritis can bring?
Some of the common problems that arthritis can bring are like difficulty in moving up and down the stairs. It can be extremely painful for an individual. It can also affect other organs in the body, and increase tenderness in joints.
What are the different forms of Arthritis?
The two most common form of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Other than these two there are also other forms of arthritis like psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis.
Which age group is affected mostly by Arthritis?
Arthritis is a form of the disease which can affect people of all age groups from children, teenagers to old people. It depends on genetics, age, lifestyle and similar other things as such. However, the majority of arthritis patients are older people.
Basics of Arthritis: What is a Joint?
The meeting point of two bones at a particular location is called joint. These meeting points are like knees, fingers, shoulders etc. The joint helps the bones to remain in place and also helps them to move freely within their limits. Majority of the joint is surrounded by a capsule. This capsule is filled with a thick form of fluid that helps in lubricating the joint. This lubricant further keeps the bone in place with the help of ligament. These ligaments can be described as strong elastic bands. Cartilage is what lines the end of the bone within a joint. The cartilage is a tough layer but has the smoothness which allows the bones to slide over one another while we walk or move. So when we try to move a bone, our brain gives a signal to the muscle which, after receiving the signal, pulls the tendon that is attached to the bone. Therefore, it can be stated that muscles play a significant role to support the joint.
What is Osteoarthritis?
This is the most common form of arthritis. Studies have shown that millions of people across the globe suffer from osteoarthritis. This form of arthritis begins with the toughening of the cartilage. People suffering from osteoarthritis would experience tiny bits of extra bone known as osteophytes growing at the end of the bone within a joint. Further, this would also increase the amount of thick fluid inside the joint that enhances lubrication. This expansion of liquid within the joint can lead to a worse condition where the joint capsule stretches and it tends to lose its shape.
However, the early stage of osteoarthritis is comparatively less painful than the later stage but it damages the inside part of a joint and increases stiffness bringing on the pain. This form of arthritis is witnessed mainly among women and tends to affect people on or above 45 years of age. The body parts that are affected because of osteoarthritis are like knees, hands, hips and back.
It is advisable for the people suffering from osteoarthritis that they should maintain a healthy weight which will decrease the amount of pressure on the joints. Regular exercise too can help them along with a proper diet. The exercise will help them to keep the muscles around the joint strong. By being fit an individual will support the joint and remain stabilised. Overweight people are mostly affected by osteoarthritis.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and painkillers like paracetamol help people by reducing the symptoms of osteoarthritis and by remaining fit. Exercise will also be helpful as mentioned earlier which will not only reduce pain but it will also reduce swelling and stiffness. One can also use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory creams that they can rub in the affected area in the body. A physiotherapist is an ideal person to give individuals suffering from osteoarthritis specific advice understanding their conditions.
However, the increase in the pain and the severity of the condition may also require the patient to conduct a surgery after trying out all the possible treatments.
What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
It is a type of inflammatory arthritis. It is also known as an auto-immune condition. The immune system of the human body acts as a natural self-defence system that keeps us protected from all form of illness and infections. So, when an individual has an autoimmune condition, the immune systems tend to attack the healthy tissues of the body like the joints that cause inflammation. Now, inflammation plays an important role in the immune system. When the body sends extra blood and fluid to a particular area to prevent or fight with an infection, inflammation occurs. The inflammation and extra fluid greatly affect people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
Some of the common problems in Rheumatoid Arthritis are as follows:
- Difficulty in moving the joint and creates pain.
- The excessive chemicals in the fluid can damage the joint and as well as the bone.
- The extra fluids stretch the joint capsule and can also irritate the painful nerve endings.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
- What are the symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Ans. The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are as follows:
- Swollen and tender joints
- Swelling and stiffness in joints in the morning which lasts for more than half an hour
- Fatigue which is severe tiredness
- Feeling of being the unwell majority of the time.
- Where does Rheumatoid Arthritis start?
Ans. This form of arthritis starts from the small joints of the hands and feet. It is also capable of affecting the same joints on both sides of the body. This effect eventually starts slowly and then with each day this gets worse and can start more aggressively. It can affect people of any age and is common in people of the age 40-60. There is a certain form of drugs that decreases an overactive immune system which tends to reduce the pain and swelling of joints. These drugs are known as disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and involve biological therapies. Conventional disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs start in the initial treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. These drugs are capable of decreasing the activity of the immune system that can cause damage to the body and is overactive. Biological therapies are referred to the ones who do not improve even after incorporation of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs. It has been witnessed in several cases that biological therapies are more effective towards the immune system.
- What are the effects of Arthritis on daily life?
Ans. There could be joint or muscle pain while moving or doing any form of tasks which should be consulted by a suitable health care professional. Moreover, it can also lead to trouble in sleeping and can also create exhaustion among people suffering from any form of arthritis. Patients are unable to move or perform task smoothly. This, on the other hand, has a significant impact on social life and also on an individual’s mood.
- What is the best treatment for Arthritis?
Ans. The best treatment for arthritis is physical therapy. The therapy has the potential to strengthen the muscles and also supports the joints. It also is helpful in decreasing the stiffness of the joint. Physical therapy also helps in improving the range of the motion without having to opt for any form of surgery or for that matter take any form of medication. There have been umpteen numbers of cases where patient’s mobility have improved after a series of physiotherapy from suitable physiotherapy professional. The sooner the better.