What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is an inflammation of one or more joints. Joints function to move the body parts connected by bones. The symptoms of arthritis are joint pain, and stiffness that deteriorate with age. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the common types. The symptoms appear gradually over time but they also appear rapidly. Arthritis is common among elderly; it can also develop in children, teens, and younger adults. Women are more prone to get arthritis than men. It's also common in overweight people.
The common signs and symptoms of arthritis include:
- Decreased range of motion
Risk factors for arthritis include:
Family history: You are prone to develop arthritis if your parents or siblings have the disorder. Your genes make you vulnerable to external factors that trigger arthritis.
Age: As you age, the risk of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout increases.
Sex: Women are more prone to develop rheumatoid arthritis than men, while gout is more prevalent in men.
Prior Joint Injury: An injury in the joint while playing a sport may eventually develop arthritis in that joint.
Obesity: People who are obese put stress on joints, mainly your knees, hips, and spine. Obese people are at higher risk of developing arthritis.
The two common types of arthritis Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis
The common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, where the cartilage - the cushioning surface on the ends of bones wears away, bone rubs against bone causing pain, swelling, stiffness, and restricted movements. Over time, joints lose the strength and pain become chronic.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. Your body's immune system attacks the synovium tissue, a soft tissue in your joints that produces a fluid that nourishes the cartilage and lubricates the joints. The synovial lining becomes inflamed and swollen that finally results in the destruction of both the bone and the cartilage inside the joint.
Management of arthritis
Arthritis treatment emphasis on easing the symptoms and improving joint function and enhance the quality of life. Treatment involves
These are pain relievers, but have no effect on inflammation. Examples include acetaminophen, tramadol and narcotics containing oxycodone or hydrocodone.
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs).
NSAIDs lessen both pain and inflammation. It includes ibuprofen and naproxen sodium. Some of the NSAIDs are available only by prescription. NSAIDs in the form of creams or gels is also available which can be rubbed on joints.
Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).
DMARDs are used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, that stops the immune system from attacking the joints, i.e., methotrexate and hydroxychloroquine.
These drugs include prednisone and cortisone that ease inflammation and supresses the immune system. It can be taken orally or be injected directly into the painful joint.
Exercise therapy may be helpful for some type of arthritis. Exercises improve range of motion and strengthen the muscles around the joints. In some cases, splints or braces are necessary.
If conservative measures don't help, your doctor may suggest surgery, such as Joint repair, joint replacement, and joint fusion.
There is no specific diet to cure arthritis, the best thing to do is to a have balanced diet.
A balanced and a varied healthy diet provides you with all the essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients to boost the immune system and cure inflammation.
Include fish, pulses, nuts, olive oils and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Foods to avoid or restrict are fried foods, processed foods, and high intakes of meat.
Losing weight if you're overweight and maintaining a healthy weight, will help to reduce the strain on your joints and reduce the risk of developing osteoarthritis.
Exercising will keep your joints flexible. Swimming is a good form of exercise as it doesn't put pressure on your joints the way running and walking do. Stay active, but make sure to rest when you need and avoid overexerting yourself.
At-home exercises you can try including:
- Head tilt, neck rotation to relieve pain in your neck.
- Finger bends and thumb bends to reduce pain in your hands.
- Leg raise, hamstring stretches to relieve knee pain.