Arthritis is one of the most common diseases. We often consider arthritis to be a single disease, but there are hundreds of variations of arthritis which affect one in five adults in the United States.
People who suffer from arthritis might care less about the statistics and more about the symptoms. The disease is characterized by pain and stiffness of the joints which can stop you from doing daily activities.
The term arthritis refers to the symptoms of the disease rather than the disease itself. The different types of arthritis are all characterized by some form of joint pain. The types of arthritis may vary from the more uncommon disorders such as Lyme disease to the more common types like gout and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Normally, people who suffer from arthritis pain have either osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis which is the two most common types.
Osteoarthritis develops with age. As we age our cartilage at the end of the bones wear away, making osteoarthritis a degenerative disease.
The cartilage helps by cushioning your joints. Gradually losing it leads to pain, swelling and stiffness. Thing such as overusing your joints, being overweight or a previous injury to the joint can all raise the risk of developing osteoarthritis.
If you suffer from a mild to moderate osteoarthritis you can treat it from home. If you are overweight you can try losing some of the extra pounds this way you can relieve pressure from your knees. You can try exercising more often in order to lose weight and strengthen the muscles around your joints.
Prescription anti-inflammatory medication can help you with osteoarthritis. It is important to take the correct dosage in order to avoid any side effects. Sometimes doctors may even recommend a steroid injection directly into the joint. Cortisone is a powerful anti- inflammatory steroid which can relieve the symptoms for months or even years.
In case of severe osteoarthritis your doctor may recommend joint replacement. The methods used today involve high grade materials which can help you achieve the most natural movement possible. According to studies the new joints have an 80-85% chance of lasting 20 years at least.
Rheumatoid arthritis is another disease common in older people but it normally starts during middle age. The disease can also affect young adults and children.
It normally occurs when the body’s immune system starts attacking the joints causing inflammation. RA affects hands, wrists, feet and knees on both sides of the body. You may also experience fever and fatigue.
It is yet unknown what causes RA but the tendency to develop it might be hereditary, the disease being triggered by lifestyle or environment factors such as smoking.
Depending on the person the symptoms of RA may be mild or they may be constant, severe and debilitating. In any of the situations it is important to diagnose it quickly. It is important to start treatment fast in order to slow the disease process or even put it into remission.
Just like with osteoarthritis, exercising can help you manage rheumatoid arthritis. You should consult your doctor to see how much physical activity you are allowed to do.