What is Arthritis?

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Arthritis is a broad term that encompasses a range of more than 100 diseases. It is a general term for cases that affect joints or tissues around the joint. There are different forms of this disease, and each has a specific medical name. Most types of arthritis cause stiffness and pain in and around the joint that is affected. In various types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system and internal organs of the body are also affected.

What causes arthritis?

Cartilage is a flexible but strong connective tissue in the joints. It protects the joints by absorbing pressure and the effect of putting them under stress. The low standard quantity of cartilage tissue causes some forms of arthritis.

Types of Arthritis:

Osteoporosis

More people suffer from this disease than any other form of arthritis. It is the “wear and tear” that occurs when joints are over-used. This usually happens with age, but joint injuries or weight gain can be among the causes, putting additional strain on the joints.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. This means that the body parts, especially the joints are attacked by the immune system.  This causes inflammation that can lead to severe joint damage if left untreated. About 1 in 5 people with rheumatoid arthritis have rheumatoid nodules on their skin. Often areas of the joint are formed under pressure, such as ankles, elbows or heels.

Lupus

Lupus which is commonly known as SLE or systemic lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune disease. This can affect the joints and many members of the body.

Psoriatic arthritis

People with this disease have inflammation of the skin (psoriasis) and joints (arthritis). Psoriasis causes irregular areas of red and white skin inflamed with scales. It usually affects the ends of the elbows, knees, scalp, navel, and skin around the genital area or anus.

Gout

It is the buildup of uric acid crystals in the joint. Mostly it affects the big toe or another part of the foot.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of arthritis are pain, stiffness, and swelling of joints. Your range of motion may also reduce, and you may notice redness of the skin around the joint. Many people with arthritis find their symptoms getting worse in the morning.

Diagnosis of arthritis

Arthritis diagnosis often begins with a family doctor who performs a physical exam. He may follow that up with blood tests and imaging tests to determine the type of arthritis. An arthritis specialist or rheumatologist should be included if the diagnosis is uncertain or if arthritis is inflammatory.

Rheumatologists usually treat persistent inflammatory arthritis, gout, and other complex conditions. Orthopedics perform joint surgeries, including joint replacement. If arthritis has affected other systems or parts of the body, other specialists, such as dermatologists, ophthalmologists or dentists, may be included in the health team.

Here are some simple tips and lifestyle changes that can make arthritis more tolerable:

  • An exercise program that adapts to your fitness level and maintains the movement of your joints with a healthy balance between physical activity and rest
  • Healthy food
  • Stress management
  • Complementary therapies such as orthopedics, chiropractic, and acupuncture.

Homeopathy, herbal medicines, and supplements.

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