Arthritis, in simple words, means inflammation or swelling of the joints. It was derived from Greek words which are: “arthro” meaning joint, and “itis” which stands for inflammation. Joints are structures of the body that connect a bone to another bone and allow movements to take place. They also provide support and lubrication. Once the cartilage, which protects them, degenerates and breaks down, the bones will rub together resulting in a lot of pain and inflammation.
According to recent studies, there are different types of arthritis, approximately over a hundred. The most common types are osteoarthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, psoriatic, gonococcal, rheumatoid and gouty type. A fractured or a broken bone can cause joint inflammation as well as infection. Older people who have joints that have degenerated overtime are more susceptible to having such conditions.
Recent research shows that arthritis is more common in women than in men but it can affect anybody, including young people. The most common manifestations are joint pain and swelling. The swelling can actually be seen by a naked eye. One would be able to see a protrusion in areas of especially hands and knees. The swelling is actually caused by injury caused by bone friction thus triggering extreme pain. The inflammation will then lead to a decreased range of motion.
Patients also complain about having stiffness especially in the morning time when they just wake up. Redness and warmth may also be evident. One has to be careful since redness and warmth could be the early signs of infection once accompanied by fever and chills. A physical exam may be done before taking various tests. X-rays and blood tests would have to occur to check the extent of inflammation and any underlying infections.
The treatment goal is to make sure that the pain is alleviated, no pathologies are developed and function is improved. For most of the types of arthritis, a change in lifestyle is advised. Physical therapy is included into the program and a change in the diet. Losing weight is an important part of the treatment process. If you are heavy or your weight is higher than normal, the pressure that your body exerts on joints may complicate the injury. This can also mean more pain especially when movement is performed.
Avoiding positions that may apply pressure is also part of your individual program. Assistance from family members and friends to completely adhere to the planned lifestyle changes is required as well.