Arthritis: 5 Things You Should Know
1. Who is Affected?
You probably immediately associate arthritis with old age. Perhaps you have an older family member or friend who suffers from it and has joint pain.
However, what you probably don’t know is it can occur at any age. Although it mainly affects adults (about 1 in 5), there are an estimated 300,000 children in America that suffer from juvenile arthritis.In America, over 50 million people have been diagnosed with arthritis.
2. What is The Most Common Type?
The most typical form of arthritis is osteoarthritis that afflicts primarily older patients. This condition happens when there is a loss of cartilage between joints, causing your bones to rub against each other, resulting in stiffness, pain and loss of joint movement.
3. What Causes Arthritis?
Arthritis can be hereditary or caused by other factors such as bacterial or viral infections, problems with your immune system, or an injury that can potentially lead to osteoarthritis. Additionally, it is associated with more than 100 diseases. In some cases, like diabetes and multiple sclerosis, it becomes an autoimmune disease. For example, rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can also damage skin, eyes, lungs, heart, and blood vessels, in addition to joints.
4. Can Arthritis be Prevented?
Unfortunately, it cannot be prevented, but there are some things you can do to help you deal with arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation recommends the following guiding principles. Always consult your doctor before starting a diet or exercise regimen.
- Educate yourself — Know the various stages of the disease and how it progresses. Stay current on the latest research and findings.
- Remain physically active – Maintain a good exercise routine that promotes weight management and joint health (such as walking, aerobics and yoga).
- Protect your joints – Always protect your joints regardless of what you do —from working to working out.
5. How is it Treated?Arthritis treatment usually focuses on pain relief and improving joint function. The medications available to treat arthritis vary depending on the type and severity of the condition. The Mayo Clinic provides the following list of commonly used arthritis medications and treatments:
- Analgesics – reduce pain but have no affect on inflammation
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – address both pain and inflammation
- Counterirritants – creams and ointments that contain ingredients to help reduce pain
- Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) – stop or slow the immune system’s attack on your joints
- Biologics – genetically engineered drugs that target various protein molecules involved in the abnormal immune response
- Corticosteroids – aimed at reducing inflammation and suppressing the abnormal response from your immune system
- Physical Therapy – improve range of motion and strengthen the muscles surrounding the joints
- Surgery – used if all else fails; involves replacing your damaged joints with artificial ones
Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health.
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