Arthritis refers to pain, stiffness, and inflammation of joints. While you may think of arthritis as a condition prevalent in the older adults, however, it doesn’t differentiate on the basis of age, sex, and race. With having over 100 different types, arthritis can be found in young as well as old people. In fact, it’s found in more than 50 million adults and 0.3 million children, according to Arthritis.org.
Women develop arthritis most often as compared to men and the condition becomes more obvious in older adults. If you’ve any kind of arthritis, you may experience these common signs:
- Inability to move
Sometimes, these signs may be due to other conditions. It’s always recommended to check with your doctor as he can provide accurate feedback.
What are the Different Types of Arthritis?
Arthritis can be divided into many different types. These are:
This type of arthritis occurs when your immune system fails to work properly and instead takes on your joints. Due to the inflammation caused by your immune system, the joints begin to erode. Not only does it affect your joints but also other parts of the body, including:
- Internal organs
Inflammatory arthritis is highly infectious and causes severe disability. Some examples of inflammatory arthritis are:
- Lupus arthritis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Ankylosing spondylitis
It’s important to diagnose this type of arthritis earlier so the treatment process can slow down the damage. If you’re in your earlier stage of inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, you’ll have fever, numbness, pain, joint stiffness, and limited range of motion.
This type of arthritis arises due to a high level of uric acid. People with high amounts of uric acid are unable to get rid of the build ups. As a result, this fluid is stored in the joints in the form of needle-like crystals. Metabolic arthritis is painful and causes severe inflammation. To help with the condition, the patient should be treated for the underlying problem. Although a few medications can help ease the pain, however, for long term, you need to reduce the level of uric acid. If left untreated, metabolic arthritis can cause severe pain and disability.
Gout is a typical example of metabolic arthritis, which triggers joint pain and discomfort. You can improve your condition by avoiding food that has high purines (a colorless crystalline compound) content in it. Foods that you should avoid if you’ve metabolic arthritis:
- Corn syrup
- Alcohol such as beer
- Red meat
These foods and drinks contain a high amount of fructose and purine. Therefore they should be avoided at all costs.
This is one of the most common types of arthritis. It occurs when the cartilage of your joints breaks down and becomes inflamed, which is also called osteoarthritis. While degenerative arthritis can attack any part of your body, the most commonly affected parts are joints in your hips, hands, and knees, etc.
Because of cartilage loss, your bones literally move over each other. If a patient is diagnosed with bone on bone condition, it means their cartilage has lost and they have degenerative arthritis. There are many risk factors for developing degenerative arthritis. Main of them are:
- Sports and exercise injury
- Genetic history
To deal with degenerative arthritis, you can use RICE technique.
Rest – get rest for some time
Ice – apply ice pack to reduce inflammation
Compression – wear compression sleeve or bandage
Elevation – elevate your affected area above heart level
What are the Causes of Arthritis?
There are at least a hundred different types of arthritis with varied symptoms and risk factors. With that being said, there’s no single cause of all types of arthritis. However, if you’ve developed the condition, you can consult with your doctor to learn more about its type and possible causes. Some of the common causes of arthritis are:
- Dysfunction of your immune system
- Metabolic abnormalities in the body
- Family history with arthritis
- Severe injury
- Infection due to virus, bacteria or fungus
While these can be just a few causes of arthritis, there are many other ways you can contract the condition without any apparent cause. It depends on what type of arthritis you have developed. Along with these common causes, other factors such as poor diet, unhealthy nutrition, injury, and infection can exacerbate your symptoms. It’s important to provide a full medical history to your doctor.
There are certain foods that can increase inflammation and pain due to arthritis. For example, food with highly refined sugar and carbs can worsen your condition.
What are the Different Treatment Options for Arthritis?
If you’re suffering from arthritis, you should avoid food high in refined sugar and carbs. As the discomfort and pain can be annoying, you should also apply home therapy and take over the counter medications. The main purpose of these treatment options is to control the pain, reduce swelling, and improve your condition.
Home Based Treatment Options
These include eating the right food, managing your body weight, reducing the risks of injury and fall, and taking care of your joints, etc. Changing lifestyle and self-care are the best ways to help with arthritis. Not only can you reduce your symptoms but also improve your quality of life. Below are ways you can control arthritis to some extent.
Healthy food – A nutrient rich diet with a low amount of refined sugar and carbs can dramatically help with pain and stiffness of your affected joint. You can also stick to any healthy, organic and vegetarian diet and eat food such as:
- Coconut oil
- Whole bread
These foods can significantly reduce your chances of pain and inflammation due to arthritis.
Managing pain – To cope with arthritis pain, you need to stay physically active, as it will help your joints to become activated. You can also start exercising if you’re overweight, as obesity can mess up your symptoms. Also, do regular check ups to update your physician on your condition.
Physical Therapies for Arthritis?
One of the most common and highly recommended treatment options for people with arthritis is physical therapy. The condition can become worse and the stiffness can increase if your affected area is not mobilized properly. Therefore, your doctor or therapist may recommend physical therapies that include movements such as standing, walking, and climbing, etc. The doctor also recommends certain exercises aimed at the affected area for quick recovery. These therapies have shown to have a significant impact on your condition.
Medication for Arthritis
Along with home based treatment option, self-care, and physical therapy, you can also take commonly used medicines for arthritis such as:
NSAIDs – These are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that curb inflammation to some extent and help with pain and stiffness. These medicines are frequently used to help with arthritis. Common NSAIDs are Diclofenac, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, and Diflunisal.
Corticosteroids – Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory drugs that are used for arthritis and other similar conditions. These drugs are commonly used to reduce inflammation and provide your joints with warmth.
Painkillers – These medications are used to reduce pain by interfering with the nerves that carry pain messages to your brain. As a result, you don’t feel any pain. However, painkillers have side effects and they don’t reduce inflammation.
Surgical Options for Arthritis
There are different surgical options for people with arthritis. Each of these depends on the patient’s condition, medical history, and severity of the problem. It also depends on the type of arthritis. For example, people with inflammatory arthritis have three surgical options:
These strategies should be taken into account before having surgery. Based on your condition, the surgeon can also perform multiple surgeries at a time, if the need be. The aim is to help you improve fast and minimize hospitalization.
Arthritis is a severe and painful condition of legs, hands, and knee joints. If left untreated, it can cause severe structure deformities and leave you completely bed-ridden. The first thing you want to do is recognize which type of arthritis you have. Based on your condition and severity, you can either start a home based management of your problem or seek a doctor’s help. The doctor can better evaluate your condition and provide accurate treatment. Along with that, you can also use over the counter medications, get some rest, and do targeted exercises for arthritis.