If you thought only old people could be on the receiving end of Arthritis, you thought wrong. I was only 15 when my doctor told me I was suffering from Rheumatic Fever, a form of Arthritis. It took me five years to beat the disease with the help of heavy medication and other preventive measures.
So without wasting any further time, let’s dive into the world of inflammatory pain and find out everything that you need to know about the same. After all, pain is temporary and healthy? Health is forever…
What Is Arthritis?
If you have been wondering what is arthritis, then you have come to the right place because we will tell you all about the same. Arthritis is a medical term for inflammation in your joints, and it can happen to one or more joints. Today, there are several types of Arthritis with various treatment methods and causes.
In the United States, Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most popular types of Arthritis. The other popular types of the same are as follows,
- Psoriatic arthritis (PsA)
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
As mentioned above, the first symptoms commonly start appearing over a period of time, but that does not mean the same can’t happen suddenly. The most common age for getting affected by Arthritis is usually between 30 and 50. However, it can affect teenagers (like me), young adults, and even children.
For instance, Osteoarthritis typically affects people in the age group of 50 to 60 years. But studies point out that women in their 40s can also get affected by the same. Moreover, Osteoarthritis is also common in anyone who is overweight.
Symptoms Of Arthritis:
The most well-known symptoms of Arthritis are,
- Joint pain,
- Stiffness, and
Moreover, there is a high probability that you might experience the symptoms right after you get out of your bed or if you suddenly stand up after resting for some time.
The symptoms can also vary depending on what form of Arthritis you are suffering from. For instance, if you are suffering from Osteoarthritis, then your symptoms are likely to be more elaborate, like,
- Buckling or instability in joints
- Popping or clicking with bending
- Bony growth of fingers
- Scraping or grating of knees
- Muscle weakness in joints
- The limited span of motion, which disappears after movement
Similarly, the symptoms you will be experiencing if you are suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis are as follows,
- Low-grade fever
- Inflammation of mouth and eyes
- Inflammation of blood vessels and heart muscle
- Multiple affected joints
- Morning stiffness which can last longer than 30 minutes
- Low count of red blood cells
- Same joints are affected on two sides of your body
- Onset in minor joints like feet and hands
Causes Of Arthritis:
The question that has been bothering you now is naturally ‘what causes arthritis?’ So keep some patience and scroll down to find out more on the same.
Arthritis may be caused by,
- Autoimmune disorders
- Family history or genes,
- Muscle weakness,
- Age (for example, Osteoarthritis takes place in people who are 50 or more)
- Overuse of one or more joints
Osteoarthritis is caused by ordinary everyday wear and tear of one or more joints. An injury or infection in your joints can make things worse by naturally breaking down the cartilage tissues.
The cartilage is the flexible and firm connective tissue in joints. This tissue is responsible for protecting your joints by simply absorbing all the stress and pressure that you exercise on them with excessive movement. When this tissue reduces in size, some type of Arthritis can take place.
Moreover, if your family history reeks of Arthritis, you will also tend to develop Osteoarthritis.
Now that you know the rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, it is time to find out how it is caused. In fact, I have suffered from the same since I was 15. Experts say that it is an autoimmune disorder. What doctors told me all those years ago, I still remember minutely.
When the immunity system of your body starts attacking your tissues, it results in inflammation of joints as well as other organs in your body. Inside the joints, this inflammation, in turn, affects the synovium (soft tissue). The synovium produces a fluid-like substance that lubricates your joints and nourishes your cartilage, eventually destroying the cartilage and the bone inside your joint.
The exact reason behind the autoimmune disorder is still unknown in this context. Howver, scientists have found out that genetic markers can exponentially increase the risk of getting Rheumatoid Arthritis or RA.
Treatment Of Arthritis:
The primary goal of treating Arthritis is to lower the pain your body has been experiencing and, at the same time, take preventive measures for stopping any kind of additional damage. You have to find out what works best for you in terms of controlling the level of pain you are experiencing.
Generally, Arthritis treatment includes a blend of,
- Supplements and medications,
- Physical therapy,
- Occupational therapy,
- Diet rich in nutrients,
- Regular exercise,
- Weight loss (if required),
- Cold and heat compresses,
- Assitance devices for mobility like walkers and canes.
At the same time, boosting the functioning of your joints is also considered to be essential! In fact, your doctor could prescribe you combination treatments for achieving top results.
Did you know that several medications can treat Arthritis?
- Analgesics: The Analgesics are medications like acetaminophen or Tylenol, and hydrocodone or Vicodin are great alternatives for managing the pain but not so much for inflammation.
- NSAIDs: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like salicylates and ibuprofen or Advil can manage both inflammation and pain. However, if you are already taking any blood-thinning medicine, then it’s best to avoid salicylates since it thins the blood.
- Capsaicin or menthol creams: The purpose of using these creams is that they can stop the movement of pain signals from your joints.
- Steroids: Prednisone is a type of steroid that can lower inflammation but must be used rarely and only for short time periods.
Physical therapy involves strengthening exercises involving muscles around the joints that have been affected by Arthritis.
Apart from all the appointments and sessions with your therapist, you will also receive daily care and an exercise plan for a holistic approach to treatment. Collectively physical therapy can build strength, boost mobility and improve flexibility.
Surgery is naturally for severe cases of Arthritis. For instance, your affected joint can be replaced by an artificial joint for both your hips and knees.
At the same time, if you have arthritis in your hands or wrists, your doctor will most likely conduct a joint fusion. In this surgery, the two ends of the bones are simply fused, removing the joint and thereby removing the area of inflammation.
Risk-Factors Of Arthritis:
The risk factors of Arthritis are as follows,
- Obesity – If you are overweight, it puts extra stress on the joints responsible for bearing weight.
- Smoking – The chances of developing Rheumatoid Arthritis or RA will increase if you smoke, and smoking can make things worse.
- Gender and age – The chances of getting affected with Arthritis increase with an increase in age. Moreover, women are more likely to develop Arthritis as compared to men.
- Genes – If you have a family history of autoimmune disorders, the chances of catching this inflammatory disease are high.
- Repetitive injuries – Naturally, repetitive injuries increase your chances of developing OA in the joints already affected in the past.
Frequently Asked Questions:-
Ans: The five symptoms of Arthritis are as follows,
• Chronic pain in joints,
• Stiffness in joints,
• Swelling in joints,
• Redness in joints, and
• Decrease in the span of motion.
Ans: The 3 main types of Arthritis are as follows,
• Rheumatoid Arthritis, and
• Psoriatic Arthritis.
Ans: The risk of Arthritis can be reduced by making lifestyle changes like,
• Quit smoking,
• Exercise regularly, and
• Healthy diet.
Finally, when you think about the long-term outlook for people who have Arthritis, you will be surprised to find out there is no definitive cure for the same. But don’t lose hope because, with the right kind of treatment and preventive measures, you can keep the annoying diseases at bay.
Additionally, you can also make some healthy lifestyle changes for managing your Arthritis. And don’t forget to let us know in the comments below about your thoughts on the same!