Arthritis is a common age-old problem that’s growing in Indian adults. Though arthritis is prevalent, due to its various types, it is less likely to be recognised and take early action. Today, we’ll discover what arthritis is and what its types are that help us to take immediate action of treatment.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is the painful inflammation of joints, the tissues that surround the joints and other connective tissue. It can affect one or multiple joints. Women (29.2%) are more likely to acquire arthritis than men (22.7%). Arthritis is higher among adults aged between 45 to 64 (30.7%) and also in adults aged about 65 years (24.3%) or more.
The symptoms of this condition usually appear over time and can impair a person’s ability to perform everyday tasks. Depending on the type of arthritis, the symptoms may include joint pain, stiffness, swelling and redness of the skin around the joint and a decreased range of motion. The symptoms may appear worse in the morning and usually worsen with age.
There are over 100 different types of arthritis. Most of these arthritis types are grouped into two broad categories: degenerative arthritis such as osteoarthritis and inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis. We’ve discussed one of the most common types of arthritis here:
In this type of arthritis, inflammation occurs in the joints and surrounding tissues without any reason and causes damage to these structures, resulting in pain and stiffness.
Rheumatoid arthritis meaning:
Scientifically, Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that mostly affects joints in our body. Which means that our immune system destroys the healthy cells on its own by mistake inducing inflammation around the heart and the lungs, also lower red blood count in our body.
Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms:
The common rheumatoid arthritis symptoms are swollen joints, pain and stiffness seen primarily in hands, wrist and knees. The symptoms grow strong with time. Though it's most known for affecting the wrist and hand, it can affect other parts of the body as well. It creates tissue damage leaving a long-lasting and deformed body part.
Rheumatoid arthritis causes:
The causes of rheumatoid arthritis are still unclear. However, some genetic factors & environmental factors are possible to contribute to it. The main cause that results in RA is an autoimmune response to the body’s immune system destroying the healthy cells.
Rheumatoid arthritis treatment:
RA is easily treatable and managed under effective medications and some self-help assisted by medical professionals. Medications of RA are used to reduce disease growth and prevent joint deformity by disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). In addition to medications, there’s a lot of self-management strategies laid out by experts on reducing pain and disability.
Complications of rheumatoid arthritis:
- Risk of premature heart disease.
- High blood pressure.
- High cholesterol.
- Increased rate of obesity.
- Difficult to continue work.
This type of arthritis involves damage to the cartilage that surrounds the bone. To compensate for this loss, the bone may remodel and undesirable bone growths may develop, resulting in pain and stiffness.
Osteoarthritis occurs mostly in the hands, knees and hips. It leads to severe pain, swelling and stiffness with time. In most extreme cases, it can also reduce the chances to function and cause disability to perform daily chores and movement.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis:
Osteoarthritis symptoms can vary from being mild to extreme. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Reduced flexibility
- Increased swelling
Causes of Osteoarthritis:
The primary cause of osteoarthritis is still unclear. Any damage or breakdown of the joint cartilage between the bones causes an instant case of osteoarthritis. However, there are many risk factors such as age, genetic factor, obesity, female sex or an effect of secondary arthritis.
Treatment of Osteoarthritis
Unfortunately, there’s no effective medication that successfully retracts the causes of osteoarthritis. However, some well-known and powerful therapies help greatly with reducing pain and swelling. Here are some of the following:
- Routine physical activity
- Weight Loss
- Pain Relievers and prescription drugs
- Physical therapy
- Surgery (if none of the above proves useful)
This type of arthritis is felt more in the tissues surrounding the joint than the joint itself. It may affect the joint following injury or overuse. Tennis elbow is also known as lateral epicondylitis. It leads to painful weakening of the tendons in the arm that connects the forearm muscles to the bones. It results when we overuse our elbow by repeating a motion.
Symptoms of tennis elbow:
- Gradual increase in elbow pain
- Weak Grip
- Experience pain while lifting, sewing, opening jars
- Discomfort while shaking hands or squeezing an object
- Continuous aching experienced from the elbow to the forearm & wrist
Causes of tennis elbow:
Tennis elbow results due to the damage of a specific muscle in the forearm called the extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRP) muscle. This muscle is in charge of helping the wrist to raise and bend. However, repetitive stress or rigorous use causes extensive weakness in the ERCB muscle causing extremely minute tears in the muscle’s tendons. The tears cause inflammation and pain in the wrist and make it tough to perform any activity with it. An extensive amount of work or motion using the wrist can trigger the chance of tennis elbow. Here the activities that may lead to the cause of tennis elbow:
- Tennis & other racquet sports
- Frequent use of tools
Tennis elbow treatment:
It can effectively be treated with various physical exercises without the need for surgery. Here are the most prominent ones:
- Rest your arms
- Use ice packs over the inflamed area
- Use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
- Consult a physical therapist
- Shock wave therapy
- Ultrasound therapy
- Do regular arm exercises
This type of arthritis occurs due to infection of the joint by some bacteria, virus or fungus. It is mostly treated with antimicrobial medication; however, the arthritis can sometimes become chronic due to irreversible joint damage. Organisms that can infect the joint include Salmonella and Shigella that spread through food, Sexually transmitted Diseases (STDs) like chlamydia and gonorrhea and Hepatitis C.
It is also known as septic arthritis. The infections could start at any location and spread through the bloodstream and reach the joint tissue. The infection further can cause damage to other body parts by entering through surgery, injection or open wounds. It affects mostly the large joints like the knee, shoulder or the hip.
Infection Arthritis symptoms:
- Extreme pain with movement
- Fever & fatigue
- Loss of appetite
- A rapid increase in heart rate
- Weakness and chills
- Joint pain and swelling
- Red and warm joints
Causes of Infection Arthritis:
The primary cause of arthritis symptoms is bacterial or fungal infections. You acquire septic arthritis through a skin infection or urinary tract infection. Though it's rare, it can also occur by drug injection, surgery or a puncture wound.
Infectious Arthritis Treatment:
- Use of antibiotics
- Joint Drainage
It is a type of arthritis that occurs when the body’s level of uric acid is high. It can either come in episodes or become chronic if uric acid levels remain high. It leads to severe and sudden joint pain that’s usually felt in the big toe. It also affects the surrounding area such as the ankle, foot and the knee. Men are a greater risk of gout compared to women.
Symptoms of gout:
- Intense pain
- Redness & heat
Causes of gout:
It is caused by excessive accumulation of uric acid in the bloodstream and urate crystals in the tissue of the body. The deposition of uric acid crystal results in the joints resulting in inflammation and looks red, painful, heat and swelling. Though uric acid is naturally found in our body as the byproduct of our breakdown of certain proteins called purines. Excessive deposits of uric acid are caused by various factors such as genetics, obesity, kidney disease or certain medication.
Treatment of gout:
- Flare’s treatment and restraining its pain
- Preventing future flares
Arthritis treatment focuses mainly on pain reduction and prevention of further damage to the joints. The most commonly used treatment modalities include:
Analgesics such as Vicodin, Tylenol can help manage pain. Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and salicylates help control the inflammation and provide pain relief. Menthol or Capsaicin creams or Immunosuppressant are also used.
Joint replacement surgery where the joint is replaced with an artificial one is another core component of arthritis treatment.
It involves exercises that help strengthen the muscles and tissues around the affected joint and is an essential part of arthritis treatment.
A recent census found that on average, almost 50% of the people aged 65 and above have had a medical diagnosis of this health condition. The symptoms of these conditions usually worsen with age and may impair an elderly person’s ability to perform day-to-day activities as well as increase their risk of injuries.
Emoha Elder Care’s Care Angels (nurses) and Care Partners (attendants) are professionally trained and medically equipped to handle the needs of such patients to ensure their safety and provide care during arthritis treatment.
To know more about it, please feel free to reach out to us on 1800-123-44-5555.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is arthritis curable?
Ans. There’s no exact statement of a permanent cure for arthritis but treatments over the years have proved extremely successful in treating many types of arthritis. So, yes! It is possible to treat arthritis successfully.
Is arthritis genetic?
Ans. For some types of arthritis, such as for Rheumatoid arthritis, genetics plays a factor.
Does alcohol affect arthritis?
Ans. Heavy intake of alcohol can lead to inflammation in the body while moderate consumption can also reduce inflammation.
Do cracking joints lead to arthritis?
Ans. No! There’s no evidence for cracking joints or knuckles causing any damage such as arthritis.
Does arthritis flare-up in cold weather?
Ans. Arthritis can be difficult throughout the year. Although winter alters greatly with the symptoms and effect leading up to an increased rate of pain in joints and muscles.