Arthritis

What is arthritis

Arthritis is a condition which can lead to inflammation around the joints and bones. The associated pain of this condition causes pain, ranging from mild pain to with severe pain in acute cases.

This condition has become quite common globally and affects many people, with the older generation particularly at risk.

Symptoms

The general symptoms of arthritis are some form of pain, accompanying stiffness with some inflammation of affected areas. There may also be a warm feeling with some redness of the skin around the joint.

Other associated effects of this condition generally include poor sleep due to the pain and resulting tiredness.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a condition where cartilage (connective tissue) between the bones wears away leaving the bones to rub against each other during movement. This degeneration of the cartilage can cause a lot of pain.

Osteoarthritis tends to develops in the joints in hands, spine, knees and hips. Proportionally the older generation, is more susceptible to osteoarthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body's immune system attacks the joints leading to swelling and pain. Over time this can lead to a breakdown of the bone and the surrounding cartilage.

It is believed the reason why rheumatoid arthritis occurs, is down to a fault in the immune system which makes the body attack itself.

Cause

The exact cause of arthritis is not known but it is a commonly held view, it may be a genetic condition. Research has pointed to families with a history of this condition, with other families showing no or limited symptoms.

Diagnosis

Joint pain and stiffness can give initial clues to the diagnosis of arthritis. Follow up x-rays (radiology) and blood tests, can provide a more accurate diagnosis.

With x-rays showing inflammation around joints and blood tests, showing the presence of increased antibodies, which it is believed is responsible for the increased likelihood of joints and bones being attacked by the immune system.

Treatment

Treatment of arthritis involves medications to help reduce the inflammation, this is done using anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs give sufferers temporary relief from the pain associated with inflammation.

The chances of reducing damage to cartilage can also increase by using anti-inflammatories, as the rubbing against joints of the cartilage can recede.

The pressure put on joints increases the pain felt by the sufferer, so lifestyle changes such as weight loss and weight control, can reduce the impact on joints, resulting in the lowering of pain felt and the damage caused to the joints.

In severe cases, where joints have become damaged, resulting in chronic pain, joints can be replaced using artificial joints. Common replacement operations include hip replacement.

Cure

There is no cure for arthritis, as it is believed to be a genetic condition. Medications to control the associated pain and a change in lifestyle, such as weight control, are used to control the effects.

Psioratic arthritis

For some suffers of psiorasis, inflammation around the joints can occur. This is known as psioratic arthritis.

Septic arthritis

An infection, generally a bacterial infection in a joint accompanied by pain and tenderness when the joint is moved could be septic arthritis. This condition is serious and requires urgent medical treatment.