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ARTHRITIS

Greek word (artho=joint itis= inflammation) arthritis is inflammation of one or more of your joints. Main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age. The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Although there are 100 forms of arthritis.

Symptoms

Symptoms of osteoarthritis may include

joint pain and progressive stiffness that develops gradually.

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may include painful swelling, inflammation, and stiffness in the fingers, arms, legs, and wrists occurring in the same joints on both sides of the body, especially upon awakening.

Causes

  • Main cause is age related (most people over 60 have some degree of OA)
  • Following mal-union of fractures
  • Following trauma
  • Obesity
  • Genetic factors 

Rheumatoid Cause – Unknown

Thought to be a combination of genetic, environmental, and hormonal factors

Also affect skin and blood vessels.

Diagnosis

A diagnosis of arthritis is the first step toward successful treatment. To diagnose arthritis, your doctor will consider your symptoms; perform a physical exam to check for swollen joints or loss of motion, and use blood tests and X-rays to confirm the diagnosis. X-rays and blood tests also help distinguish the type of arthritis you have. For example, most people with rheumatoid arthritis have antibodies called rheumatoid factors (RF) in their blood, although RF may also be present in other disorders.

X-rays are used to diagnose osteoarthritis, typically revealing a loss of cartilage, bone spurs, and in extreme cases, bone rubbing against bone. 

Preventions

Physical/Occupational Therapy : Physical and occupational therapies are designed to help people with arthritis make their lives easier. Physical therapy treatment includes muscle strengthening and range-of-motion exercises. It also teaches ways to control pain without medication. Occupational therapy focuses on obtaining maximum independence and minimizing reoccurrence through education and treatment techniques.

Medicines: No -steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reduce inflammation and relieve pain. For more severe arthritic symptoms, PM&R Doctors may prescribe corticosteroids, but they should be taken for short periods of time only, since they have substantial side effects.

Rest: Rest helps relieve the effects of too much activity. However, too much rest may lead to stiffness and poorly moving joints. The right balance has to be found for each person.

Fire and Ice: Depending on patient preference, heat or ice may bring temporary relief from arthritis pain. The ice or heat is typically applied 3-4 times a day for 10-15 minutes. Why one person feels better with heat and another with cold is not clear, but these treatments can bring relief and often some reduction of inflammation. Heat can be applied in many forms including warm baths or showers, electric pads, infrared lamps, and whirlpools. Cold therapy includes ice packs, frozen bags of peas or corn, or a wet towel that has been placed in the freezer.

Diet: Diet may influence certain forms of arthritis. A balanced diet and careful weight control can help people with arthritis manage the pain, inflammation, and loss of movement caused by arthritis.

Support: Systems Braces and neoprene sleeves can help support joints and lessen wear on cartilage. Crutches and canes can also be very helpful, but some patients, concerned about how they look, choose to not use them.

Risk Factors

 

•          Excessive weight gain,

•          Esp. in youth Moderate to heavy alcohol intake

•          High blood pressure

•          Abnormal kidney function

•          Drugs (Aspirin, Diuretics, Cyclosporine, Levodopa, Niacin)

Complications

Severe arthritis, particularly if it affects your hands or arms, can make it difficult for you to do daily tasks. Arthritis of weight-bearing joints can keep you from walking comfortably or sitting up straight. In some cases, joints may become twisted and deformed.

Treatment

There is no cure for either rheumatoid or osteoarthritis .treatment options vary depending on the type of arthritis  and include  physical therapy, lifestyle changes (exercise and weight control) orthopedic bracing,medications.joint replacement surgery may require in eroding forms of arthritis .medications can help reduce inflammation in the joint which decreases pain.