Arthritis is a condition in which one or more joints enlarge and become tender. Joint pain and stiffness are the most common symptoms of arthritis, which usually increase with age. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two most prevalent forms of arthritis.
Osteoarthritis causes cartilage- the firm, slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones where they form a joint — breaks away as a result of osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition in which the body's immune system assaults the joints, starting with the joint lining.
Gout is caused by uric acid crystals that develop when there is too much uric acid in your blood. Other kinds of arthritis can be caused by infections or underlying diseases like psoriasis or lupus.
Depending on the kind of arthritis, several treatments are available. Treatments for arthritis are primarily aimed at reducing symptoms and improving quality of life.
The most common signs and symptoms of arthritis involve the joints. Depending on the type of arthritis, signs and symptoms may include:
- Decreased range of motion
The two main types of arthritis — osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis — damage joints in different ways.
Osteoarthritis, the most prevalent type of arthritis, is caused by wear and tear on a joint's cartilage, which is the hard, smooth covering on the ends of bones that create a joint. Cartilage cushions the ends of the bones and allows for virtually frictionless joint mobility, but enough damage can result in bone grinding directly against bone, causing discomfort and limiting movement. Wear and strain can build up over time or be accelerated by a joint injury or illness.
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a kind of arthritis that affects the joints. The immune system assaults the lining of the joint capsule, a thick membrane that encloses all the joint components, in rheumatoid arthritis. This lining (synovial membrane) swells and becomes irritated. Within the joint, the disease process might eventually damage cartilage and bone.
The goal of arthritis therapy is to alleviate symptoms and improve joint function. Before you figure out what works best for you, you may need to try a few different therapies or combinations of treatments.
Depending on the kind of arthritis, different medicines are used to treat it. The following are some of the most commonly prescribed arthritis medications:
- NSAIDs- NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications) can help to alleviate pain and inflammation. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, and others) and naproxen sodium are two examples (Aleve). Stronger NSAIDs might irritate your stomach and raise your risk of a heart attack or stroke. NSAIDs are now available in creams or gels that may be applied directly to the joints.
- Counterirritants- Menthol or capsaicin, the chemical that makes hot peppers fiery, is found in certain lotions and ointments. Rubbing these treatments on the skin over your painful joint may cause pain signals from the joint to be disrupted.
- Steroids- Prednisone and other corticosteroid medicines decrease inflammation and discomfort while also slowing joint deterioration. Corticosteroids can be either orally or injected directly into the affected joint. Bone weakening, weight gain, and diabetes are all possible side effects.
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)- These medications can help to halt the course of rheumatoid arthritis and prevent irreversible damage to the joints and other tissues. There are biologic agents and targeted synthetic DMARDs in addition to traditional DMARDs. Although DMARDs have a variety of side effects, they all raise your risk of infection.
Some forms of arthritis may benefit from physical therapy. Exercises can help you increase your range of motion and strengthen the muscles that support your joints. Splints or braces may be necessary in some instances.
If conservative measures don't help, doctors may suggest surgery, such as:
Joint Repair- Joint surfaces can be polished or repositioned to decrease discomfort and enhance function in some cases. These treatments are frequently performed arthroscopically, which means they are done through tiny incisions over the joint.
Join replacement- The injured joint is removed and replaced with an artificial one in this operation. Hips and knees are the most often replaced joints.
Joint Fusion- Smaller joints, such as those in the wrist, ankle, and fingers, are more commonly treated with this treatment. It separates the ends of the two bones of the joint and then locks them together until the joint heals into a single stiff unit.
Risk factors for arthritis include:
Family history- Some forms of arthritis run in families, so if your parents or siblings have the disease, you may be more likely to acquire it.
Age-Many kinds of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout, become more common as people become older.
Your Sex-Rheumatoid arthritis is more common in women than in men, but gout, another kind of arthritis, is more common in males.
Previous joint injury- People who have damaged a joint, such as when playing sports, are more prone to develop arthritis in that joint in the future.
Obesity-Excess weight puts strain on joints, especially the knees, hips, and spine. Obese people are at a higher risk of acquiring arthritis.
Severe arthritis can make it difficult to do daily chores, especially if it affects your hands or arms. Weight-bearing joint arthritis can make it difficult to walk comfortably or sit up straight. Joints can lose their alignment and form over time in some situations.