Arthritis is a disease that is characterized by inflammation of the joints. It mostly affects the elderly and is actually one of the leading causes of disability. It can be very painful and cause a lot of distress to the patient.
1. HOW MANY TYPES OF ARTHRITIS ARE THERE?
There are over 100 types but some are very rare. However, there are some that are very common.
(a) Osteoarthritis. This is actually the most common form of arthritis and usually affects the fingers. It also affects weight bearing joints like ankles. This occurs when the bone and cartilage breaks down. It also occurs as a result of joint trauma, aging or infection of the joints.
(b) Rheumatoid. This is more common to women compared to men. It is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the body attacks itself. This is an abnormality in the body’s immune and defense system. This results to the joints becoming inflamed. Other parts of the body can become inflamed too.
(c) Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA). This is commonly found in children. Its effects can be mild or severe.
2. WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Arthritis has vast symptoms that one can notice sometime from the onset of the disease.
(a) Stiffness especially in the morning. This may last up tp 30 minutes.
(b) Swelling in the joints.
(c) Inability of the joint to move normally.
(d) Joint pain or tenderness. This may be accompanied by redness and warmth on the infected area.
3. WHO IS AT RISK OF DEVELOPING ARTHRITIS
Actually, anyone can develop this disease. However, women, the obese as well as those who are age advanced at a higher risk of developing the problem.
4. WHAT CAUSES ARTHRITIS?
It is brought about when there is breakdown of cartilage. The main purpose of the cartilage is to facilitate the smooth movement of the joint. It also heals the joints absorb shock when there is pressure applied on the joint, for instance while walking. Lack of sufficient cartilage in joints leads to the bones rubbing against each other hence causes inflammation.
5. HOW DO I PREVENT IT?
Early diagnosis and treatment is always the best choice for you. If you have a family history of arthritis, the slightest symptoms should be reported to the doctor. This way, the disease is taken care of inn its early stages.
6. WHAT LIFESTYLE CHANGES AND TREATMENT OPTIONS ARE THERE?
You could treat arthritis through a total lifestyle change.
(a) Exercising your joints could help you reduce the stiffness, improve muscle and bone strength. It can even reduce pain.
(b) Physical therapy. In this case, water therapy, massage, heat or ice and splints to support the joints and help improve the condition.
(c) Avoid staying in one position for too long. This will help reduce the pressure off your joints.
(d) Observe a healthy diet that contains fruits and vegetables and most importantly vitamin E.
(e) If need be, lose weight.
(f) Over the counter medicine such as Provailen is advisable and is a safe herbal solution.
(g) In some cases, surgery is done when other modes of treatment have failed. This might be done to replace or rebuilt destroyed joints.
It is always advisable to seek professional advice whenever you experience symptoms of arthritis. This is a very serious disease and the earlier it’s detected, the better for it can be treated.