Information about arthritis: symptoms, causes and treatment.
Arthritis is inflammation of bones. The joints suffer deformities due to wear and tear or malfunctioning of immune system. Arthritis is of various types depending upon the joint that is having problems. Osteoarthritis (joints wear and tear) and rheumatoid arthritis (inflammation due to immune system) are the most common types.
Symptoms of Arthritis
Though it is subjective, symptoms of arthritis don’t surface immediately. They present themselves gradually. These symptoms are easily noticeable. Some of the major symptoms are:
- Joint pains
- Stuffiness in joints
- Difficulty in movement of joints
- Swelling of joints
- Skin around the joint may turn red due to inflammation
- Joint pain is worse in the morning
Some symptoms are specific to rheumatoid arthritis because of the activity of immune system. These symptoms are:
- All time tiredness
- Loss of appetite
- Chances of becoming anaemic (decrease in RBC count)
- Slight fever
Causes of Arthritis
Cartilage is a body connective tissue. It offers protection to bones by preventing them from wear and tear due to regular movements. If the covering of cartilage around the joints is reduced, then it causes arthritis i.e. inflammation in bones due to less protection from the constant movement. Osteoarthritis is caused because of this wear and tear. It can be elevated due to family history, an injury or any infection in the joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. It is a type of arthritis when the immune system produces antibodies that harm the tissues and cartilages. It basically, interrupts the production of a fluid that lubricates the bones and protects the cartilages. It can destroy both bone and joint inside the cartilage.
If these diseases are not treated in time, then they can lead to bone deformities and might require operations for joint replacement. Arthritis usually occurs after the age of 65. It is more common in females. Arthritis of knee is more regular as majority people complain about knee pain.
Treatment of Arthritis
Treatment options depend upon the intensity of cartilage and bone damage. There are various treatment methods available. It depends on the doctor and the patient as to whichever method suits them best and helps to improve the condition.
People in initial stages of arthritis prefer to use general remedies and minimum medical treatment. They use ice packs and heating pads for regular mending of the pain. They also use cane or walkers as assistance devices to reduce the pressure on their joints. Many people tie bandages or wear medical pads to keep the joint stiff as a way to prevent it from excessive use.
If the joints aren’t functional at all then they are replaced. Surgery of hips and knees is the most common one. If the problem is in fingers or wrists, they are operated and sewed together till the time they heal and are locked naturally.
Physiotherapy is the regular exercising of muscles around joints to bring them back into proper functionality. The number of sessions required depends on the efforts needed to make the muscle work properly.
Various medications are also given to patients like analgesics (for pain relief), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (controls pain and inflammation), medicinal creams (to block signal transfer of pains from joints), and immune suppressants (lower down inhibitions about pain). These come with their specific precautions and should be taken strictly according to doctor’s prescription.
Changes in diet, accommodating fitness plans, healthy diet, less intake of fats, exercises like swimming, stretching, yoga etc. can be brought in the daily lifestyle to avoid developing not only arthritis but any kind of disease.
Even though arthritis cannot be completely cured, it can be made insignificant by proper treatment, medications, and lifestyle innovations.