Arthritis, symptoms, causes and treatment.

What is Arthritis

Certain individuals start feeling some pain and discomfort in their joints during certain phases in their life. Most usually start developing problems when they turn 40 years old. There are also some who experience discomfort as early as in their teen years. Arthritis is a common occurrence for most individuals. Knowing the nature and characteristics of the problem can help you avoid it and learn more about treatment and alleviation.

About the Problem

Arthritis is described as a joint disorder that mainly features inflammation. A joint is the part of the body where two bones meet. A joint works to move the body parts linked by its bones. Arthritis means inflammation of one or more joints literally. The problem is usually accompanied by joint pain. Joint pain is also known as arthralgia. There are different kinds of arthritis. The types range more than 100, covering those associated with cartilage wear and tear like osteoarthritis or others linked with inflammation that stems from an overactive immune system like rheumatoid arthritis. Several types make up some of the most common diseases in America.
Arthritis is categorized as one of the rheumatic disorders. These are problems that are various individual abnormalities, having various treatments, features, prognoses and complications. These can also affect other parts such as the muscles, joints, tendons and cartilage. Internal structures may also be affected.

The Symptoms

There are several symptoms of arthritis. The main ones include limited function of joints and pain. The inflammation of the joints includes features like swelling, joint stiffness, warmth and redness. There can also be tenderness in the inflamed joint.
Several forms of arthritis, can lead to symptoms that affect different organs of the body that may not directly include the joints.
The symptoms in some patients with a form of arthritis may also involve other symptoms like gland or lymph node swelling, weight loss, fever, discomfort, fatigue and lung, kidney or heart abnormalities.

Who Can Have Arthritis?

Both men and women can have arthritis. Arthritis affects both children and adults, with over 350 million all around the world having the problem. In the United States alone, about 40 million individuals have arthritis, covering more than 250,000 kids. Over 27 million people in America are affected by osteoarthritis, while there are about 1.3 million rheumatoid arthritis sufferers. More than half of the people with arthritis are below 65 years old, while about 60% of all sufferers are female.

On Diagnosis

To diagnose arthritis, the physician will need to have a history of the symptoms and observe the joints for any deformity and inflammation. Some x-ray tests, blood tests, urine tests and joint fluid tests will have to be taken. Diagnosis will be made based on the symptom pattern, x-ray tests and distribution of the inflamed areas. There are several advantages to early diagnosis such as finding means of alleviation and preventing further complications. Physicians can order different regimens for long-term benefits such as physical therapy, rest, medication and surgery.

What Causes Arthritis?

The causes of arthritis can differ depending on the type. There are also different risk factors. Genetics can play a role among individuals. There are very likely genetic variations that will ultimately contribute to the occurrence during a person’s life. Age can also be a predisposing factor as cartilage becomes more brittle, dampening the capacity for self-repair. Weight can be a problem as well. Excessive body weight can lead to arthritis while knees and hips can be worn down over time. Injury can cause irregularities in the joint. A broken part of the bone can enter the cartilage thereby causing pain and inflammation. Occupational hazards are also present, which means that some types of job pose a higher risk for developing arthritis, such as those people involved in heavy lifting, construction sites and extreme sports. Illness and infection can also lead to arthritis. Septic joints, gout episodes and other underlying illnesses can trigger joint arthritis.

Treating Arthritis

Arthritis can be treated depending on the type present. A good and early diagnosis will help boost the chance of successfully treating patients. Some of the available treatments include cold pack application, physical therapy, splinting, anti-inflammation medications, paraffin wax dips, and surgery and immune-changing medications. Treatment can last anywhere between a few weeks to several years.

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