Arthritis - Help for Arthritis Treatment

By: Alien

Arthritis (from Greek arthro-, joint + -itis, inflammation; plural: arthritides) is a group of conditions involving damage to the joints of the body. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in people older than fifty-five years.

There are many forms of arthritis (over 100 and growing). The forms range from those related to wear and tear of cartilage (such as osteoarthritis) to those associated with inflammation resulting from an overactive immune system (such as rheumatoid arthritis). Together, the many forms of arthritis make up the most common chronic illness in the United States.

Causes

There are about 200 different kinds of arthritis. The most common type is osteoarthritis (or degenerative arthritis), where the cartilage that protects the bones gets worn away. This makes joints stiff, painful and creaky.

It's often caused by normal wear and tear of the joints, so usually occurs as people get older and the protective joint cartilage is worn away. But younger people can also get it, often because of an accident or sports injury where a joint has been placed under unnatural strain.

Symptoms

* Joint pain
* Joint swelling
* Stiffness, especially in the morning
* Warmth around a joint
* Redness of the skin around a joint

Obesity may worsen arthritis symptoms

Being overweight does affect people with arthritis. Joints affected by arthritis are already under strain. If you are overweight or obese, the extra load on your joints may be exacerbating your symptoms, especially if your affected joints include those of the hip, knee or spine. There is also a clear link between being overweight and an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis.

Treatment of Arthritis

A cornerstone of therapy of any form of arthritis is physical therapy and occupational therapy to maintain joint mobility and range of motion. The proper kind and amount of this therapy will vary depending upon the underlying cause and upon individual factors that your physician will discuss with you.

Many drugs are now used to treat the inflammation and pain associated with arthritis. Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Motrin, and others), naproxen (Naprosyn, and others) and dicolfenac (Voltaren), have immediate analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects and are relatively safe.

Tips on staying active

* Lose weight if you're overweight.
* Exercise regularly for short periods.
* Go to a physical therapist if you can.
* Use canes and other special devices to protect your joints.
* Avoid lifting heavy things.

Rheumatology
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» More on Rheumatology
 



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