Arthritis literally means Joint inflammation. It is a disease that causes painful stiffness of the joints. Arthritis is common but generally misunderstood. It is not a single disease but an informal way of referring to a joint disease or joint pain.
There are more than 100 different types of arthritis; people of all races, sexes and ages can and do have arthritis. Arthritis is more common among women and pops up more frequently as people get older.
Some of the symptoms include pain, swelling, stiffness and reduced range of motions. The symptoms are sometimes hard to place because they may come and go. They can also be mild, moderate or severe.
The symptoms may stay for some years, or get worse over time. Severe arthritis can result in the inability to do daily chores, chronic pain and difficulty in climbing. It sometimes comes with joint changes like knobby finger joints, other times the damage can only be seen via X ray. Some types of arthritis can affect the heart, lungs, eyes, kidney and skin.
What is the cause?
A reduction in the normal amount of cartilage tissue causes some form of arthritis. The cartilage is a connective tissue in the joints. It helps to protect the joints by absorbing pressure and shock created when the joints are stressed.
Another cause of arthritis is an infection or injury to the joints. Sometimes these injuries can break the cartilage tissues.
Arthritis is hereditary. A person is more likely to get arthritis if there’s a family history of the disease.
What can be done?
When the symptoms of the disease are mild or moderate, they can be managed. The treatment goal would be to reduce the amount of pain being experienced and prevent more damage to the joints.
They can be managed by:
- Regular physical activity
- Maintaining healthy diet and weight
- Using assistive devices like walking sticks, crutches, walkers and shower wheelchairs.
- Balancing daily activities with required amount of rest
- Medical treatment like analgesics and anti inflammatory drugs
- Avoiding excessive repetitive movements
- Using cold and hot therapy
If the symptoms are severe, surgery for joint replacement may be necessary.
Do you have arthritis? Kindly share your thoughts with us!