The number one cause of disability for people over the age of 55 is arthritis. This is a painful disease that affects the joints. It also reduces the range of motion in the affected joints. This affects a person’s ability to function. At times normal daily activity is difficult.
There are over 100 different types of arthritis. What they all have in common is that they are all rheumatic diseases and other conditions that can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in any joint in the body.
Each of these different forms of arthritis have different causes. Inflammatory arthritis is inflammation of tissues associated with joints. Some examples of this type of arthritis are: connective tissue diseases, crystal deposition diseases, infectious arthritis, and spondyloarthropathies. Psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are autoimmune diseases. Septic arthritis is caused by infection in a joint. Gout, another form of arthritis, is caused by deposits of uric acid crystals in the affected joint. this results in inflammation and pain. Rheumatoid arthritis, often referred to as (RA), is a chronic inflammatory disease where the immune system attacks the joints. RA is a painful and disabling inflammatory disease. It often results in a loss of mobility because of pain and destruction of the affected joint. Arthritis can affect anyone, male or female, from children to adults.
RA can affect many different parts of the body. It often affects extra-articular tissues including heart, lunges, muscles, blood vessels and skin. People suffering from psoriasis often develop psoriatic arthritis. It is also an inflammatory disease that is characterized by pitting of the nails, and in severe cases loss of the nail.
Osteoarthritis is deterioration of cartilage lining between joints. This type of arthritis usually occurs in people over 50 years of age. Some doctors believe it is inherent in the aging process. The symptoms are: loss of range of motion, stiffness, pain, and destruction of joints, primarily in the weight bearing joints.
Nonsrticular rheumatism is a group of diseases which include, bursitis, tendonitis, fobrositis and tenosynovitis. This is sometimes called soft tissue rheumatisms. Septic arthritis is an infection in a joint. Most often it is a bacterial infection, but can be viral, or fungal. This form of arthritis occurs when a person has a break in the skin, such as a cut, that becomes infected. The bacteria gets into the bloodstream where the blood carries it to a joint. When a person is affected in only one joint, they should be tested for septic arthritis.
Gout results when the body has too much uric acid. This is a natural chemical in the body. Gout, a form of arthritis, most often occurs in the big toe, knee,and wrist joints. The excess uric acid forms needle like crystals that cause inflammation (swelling) and severe pain.
Arthritis symptoms include limited function of the affected joints and pain. Arthritis also causes swelling, stiffness of the joint. redness. warmth,and often tenderness of the inflamed joint.
Tips to help prevent arthritis and possible treatments for those with arthritis.
- Depending on the type of arthritis, treatment options include occupational and physical therapy, and medications. These are targeted at the disease causing the arthritis.
- The types of arthritis that lead to wearing down of bone often require joint replacement surgery.
- Pain killers such as ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory medicine can help relieve pain.
- Some people get a prescription fro their doctor for a NSAID drug, which can provide pain relief, and
is not as harmful to the stomach.
- For some patients, doctors recommend physiotherapy. This improves joint movement, strengthens muscles, and relieves pain.
- Once pain is controlled, regular exercise is recommended.
- In more severe cases knee or hip replacement may be necessary.
- Most patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis need to take disease modifying drugs to slow progression of this disease.