Arthritis is a painful condition that can be debilitating. Arthritis is inflammation of the joints. There are many types, but they all lead to the same problem: pain. Arthritis can begin while you are young. It is common among older people. There are several symptoms and also a few different causes. It occurs in the hips, knees, ankle, and wrist. Wherever there is a joint, arthritis can take over. In the beginning stages, it may not be that bad, but as the disease progresses, it will destroy your joints and affect your quality of life.
Arthritis is common among Americans. Nearly 40 million people in the United States has some form. Symptoms range from mild to severe. The joints in the body are important for movement. The way they are made allow you to have a wider range of motion. Without ligaments and tendons, the joints would not be able to stay in place. When you are suffering from arthritis, your range of motion is limited. It also may prevent you from using that part of the body completely. As stated earlier, arthritis can affect children. Nearly 300,000 children are faced with juvenile arthritis. It causes them to live in pain and limits their activity.
Arthritis has hereditary sources. It can run in the family. If you notice your grandparents have arthritis as well as your parents, you may be susceptible to the disease. There are things in the environment that can trigger the onset of arthritis. Age also plays a factor. As you age, your bones and joints begin to wear down. This puts you at risk for more severe forms. If you have joint injuries, you can cause yourself to get arthritis. The constant inflammation due to injury is a major risk factor. Arthritis is more common among women as well. We are not sure exactly why that is, but it could be related to genetics. Your health is very important. If you are obese, you put a lot of pressure on your joints. This puts you at a higher risk for arthritis.
Types of Arthritis
There are two main types of arthritis: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid. Osteoarthritis breaks down the cartilage in between the joints. This leaves your bones rubbing together the pain can be so great that it becomes debilitating. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. It does not attack the cartilage, but it attacks the membrane around the joint. This membrane lubricates the joints of the ankle, hip, wrist, and knees. When the membrane becomes inflamed, it creates a lot of pain and joint erosion. Osteoarthritis is more common than rheumatoid arthritis, but they both have the same symptoms.
Symptoms include stiffness, pain, and swelling. If arthritis is found in the hip, knees, or ankles, walking can be a tasking. Arthritis in the wrist makes cooking and typing difficult. Arthritis can move into the fingers and leave them cripple. When disease causes arthritis, it may cause fevers and even a loss of appetite. You can get a rash and begin to lose weight. If you become very stiff after sitting for a while, this is a definite sign of arthritis. It is not good to allow your joints to stiffen; this is why exercise is good for those with arthritis.
There is no cure, but there are things you can do to treat the condition. Medications are the first option. It reduces swelling and pain. Medication is not always in the form of a pill, but can be a cream. Ointments like Bengay help to reduce pain by releasing a soothing sensation in the area of the joint pain. Shots may be given to relieve the pain and swelling as well. These shots last a while, but the bad part about is you have to keep coming back for another. Physical therapy is usually the next option before surgery. A physical therapist tries to strengthen the muscles around the joint and help loosen the tightness. They will suggest exercise. Exercise will get those hormones flowing and help you lose excess weight that may be causing arthritis.
If you do not prefer taking medication, you can try yoga and acupuncture. These are nonmedicinal methods for improving arthritis. Massages can also be very helpful. Natural drinks and spices have also proven to be helpful in joint pain. Surgery is always an option, especially when the joint is degraded. The surgeon has several options. They can repair the joint, replace the joint, or fuse the bones together. Joint fusion is typically done for the wrist and fingers. They may even do that in the ankle. Joint replacement is common for knees and hips. Repair can be done on any joint depending on the severity of the situation. If the joint is beyond repair, it may have to be replaced.
The hips, ankles, knees and wrist are all susceptible to arthritis. The one thing about arthritis is that it affects many people. If you have arthritis, you are not alone. Take control of your arthritis. Stay active and eat right. Do not allow it to make you immobile. If surgery is your only option, you should not hesitate. Get the treatment you need and improve your quality of life today.
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