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Arthritis



Arthritis is a condition of the joints that is characterized by inflammation. This condition may affect the connective tissue where the two bones meet and limit movement of the body parts where the bones connect. The affected party often experiences pain near the joint area. This pain may be referred to as arthralgia. Nearly 100 different forms of arthritis diseases may fall into this category. This is one of the most chronic diseases in the United States.

Arthritis can affect all people in the American population from children to adults. Nearly 40 million people in the United States are affected by arthritis and 350 million people worldwide. This number included over a quarter million children are affected worldwide. Women suffer from this condition more than men. Currently, there are nearly 60% of Americans affected worldwide.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common prognosis. This form of arthritis is as a result of an overactive immune system. This type of arthritis can be disabling from the severity of pain. Mostly women of the ages 25 to 50 are affected. Rheumatoid arthritis may affect the knees, toes, wrists or finger joints. Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may include fatigue, weight loss, fever or loss of appetite. Stiffness is also a common symptom. The disease may also affect organs such as, lungs, eyes, skin, nerves or the heart.

Rheumatoid arthritis is also influenced by weather, stress, exercise and temperature. For instance, some patients report aching pains during inclement weather, such as rain or snow. The symptoms may disappear with improved immune system, but may return over some period.

To treat rheumatoid arthritis, physicians often recommend aspirin to alleviate the affects of inflammation. For forms of arthritis that are advanced, physicians may recommend drugs such as DMARDs or SAARDs. Anti-malarials or immunosuppressants may also be prescribed. Corticosteroids or gold therapy may also be prescribed and used under close supervision. Topical creams, ice and heat are conservative measures that also alleviate some of the symptoms of arthritis. If the patient experiences pain, stiffness or swelling for more than two or more weeks, The Arthritis Foundation recommends visiting a physician for a proper diagnosis and relief.

Rest, heat and physical therapy will help to alleviate some symptoms of pain. Physicians prescribe this in conjunction with medication. This regimen will help patients remain mobile and pain free. This regimen will also improve strength, sleeping patterns and promote weight loss or maintenance of a certain weight. Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis.

Juvenile arthritis is most commonly rheumatoid arthritis. Children may experience swelling and stiffness as a result. Because this type of arthritis is a result of an immune deficiency, the effects of rheumatoid arthritis may subside after 10 years. Sometimes the damage may be permanent. In other cases, they may be temporary.

Surgery may be required for some forms of arthritis. To improve mobility, some patients may need to replace a knee joint, elbow joint or shoulder joint. Tendon reconstruction may also be required. In some instances, a synovectomy may be required. This is the process of removing inflamed tissue. If the joints have a problem with alignment, then a splint or brace may be required. These new surgery techniques will allow patients to return to their normal lives.

Osteoarthritis

Arthritis, itself, is a joint disorder with accompanying inflammation. The disease may affect muscles, cartilage, ligaments and tendons. Any form of wear and tear of cartilage or tissues would be considered a form of osteoarthritis. This form of arthritis may affect finger joints, hips, knees, feet and also the spine. It may also affect elbows, wrists, shoulder, ankles or wrists.

Osteoarthritis disease affects people mostly over the age of 60. This degenerative joint disease may also be known as arthrosis, osteoartrosis or hypertrophic arthritis. There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but the symptoms can be alleviated with proper treatment.

Regular exercise is recommended to prevent any form of arthritis. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables also reduces the risk of arthritis development. Yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, massage, magnets and acupuncture are all natural treatment forms that may assist patients with arthritis pain. Fish oil is also helpful. Medications that will help clients include injections. Hyaluronates are gel-like substances that may be injected into the joint to help with pain. The five types include: Synvisc, Orthovisc, Supartz, Euflexxa and Hyalgan.

Local steroid injections may also alleviate painful joint pain. Patients may receive as many as three injections per year. Vicosupplementation is often an alternative to steroids, if the patient cannot take steroids for any given reason.

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