What Is Arthritis? Know Different Types, Preventive Measures And Treatment Options
Arthritis is a condition which leads to inflammation and pain in the joints. There are different types of arthritis that can affect an individual. Read here to know from expert these types and how to prevent this condition.
Arthritis can affect day to day activities of an individual if not managed properly
- Arthritis is a condition which affects bones and joint
- It leads to pain, redness and inflammation in the joints
- Maintaining a healthy weight can help control arthritis risk
Joint and bone pain are two conditions commonly experienced by people especially during the winter season. In a lot of instances, these may get ignored due to the commonality of the conditions and concerns may be raised only when the symptoms become chronic or severe. Arthritis is an inflammation of the bone or joint and it affects millions of people globally, both physically and emotionally. The condition occurs when the body's immune system attacks the tissues in the body. Therefore, it is important to diagnose and manage the recurring pain early before arthritis takes over. Some of the early warning signs include pain in the body, redness or swollen joints, morning stiffness and difficulty in moving. The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis which occurs due to wear and tear of joints and commonly affects knees, hips and the lower back. The other kind of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis which can cause pain and damage to the overall body.
Types of arthritis, prevention and treatment
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis mostly affects elders. It is a degenerative joint disease in which pain or swelling occurs due to the progressive loss of cartilage in the joints. The protective cartilage that cushions the end of bones within joints gradually wears away, which is why it is also called 'wear and tear' arthritis. The inner surface of the bones uncover and start to rub together, often developing bony spurs on the edges of joints, causing pain, deformity, and difficulty in movement. Osteoarthritis can affect almost any joint in the body, but commonly occurs in the weight-bearing joints such as knees and hips. External factors, such as injuries can also fuel osteoarthritis, but how fast it progresses and how severe it becomes depends on factors such as genes, excessive weight or other health issues.
What is rheumatoid arthritis?
is a type of autoimmune arthritis and can mistakenly attack normal cells in the body. It affects women more than men between the age group of 30 and 60 (older adults). Genes, environmental factors and smoking play a major role in this autoimmune disease. People suffering from rheumatoid arthritis experience pain in multiple joints, especially in hands, wrists, feet and knees lasting for more than 4 to 6 weeks. There can be swelling in joints and severe early morning joint stiffness accompanied by fatigue and fever.
- Balanced diet - Choosing a diet with lots of antioxidants, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs, can help reduce inflammation. Other inflammation-reducing foods include whole grains, fish and nuts
- Maintaining a healthy weight - Eating a healthy diet is important for weight loss as excess weight can put stress on joints
- Regular exercise - Exercise keeps joints flexible hence staying active becomes important, however take necessary rest when overexerted
- Improving sleep - Poor sleep can aggravate arthritis pain and fatigue. Improving sleep hygiene and restricting screen-time just before sleeping becomes necessary
- Caring for joints - Tips for protecting joints include using the stronger, larger joints as levers when opening doors, using several joints to spread the weight of an object such as using a backpack
- Ice pack and local pain ointments also helps
How is arthritis treated?
- Physical therapy - Physical therapy involves exercises which help strengthening the muscles around the affected joint and is a core component of arthritis treatment. Physical activity has a positive effect on arthritis and can improve pain, functioning of joints and mental health of a person.
- Medication - Anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving drugs are given to control pain and inflammation, however, what medicine and exact medicine which will suit you should be discussed with the orthopaedician. For rheumatoid arthritis now a days many good medicines and biologics are available which are routinely prescribed by orthopaedics doctor or rheumatologist
- Local Injection Therapy- In severe inflamed joints many a times steroids injections, PRP therapy and stem cell therapy are also prescribed.
- Surgery - In case of a severe arthritis, surgery to place a joint or hip can be an option. In case of wrists or fingers, a joint fusion/ replacement is performed.
(Dr Debashish Chanda, Department of Orthopaedics, CK Birla Hospital, Gurgaon)
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