Arthritis is an inflammation of one or more joints. It is a common problem in the U.S., affecting more than 70 million people. Arthritis treatment depends on the type of arthritis that a person experiences. It can affect people of all ages.
Types of Arthritis
There are more than 100 different types of arthritis. Some of them include:
- Juvenile idiopathic arthritis
- Arthritis of the back and neck
- Arthritis of the shoulder
- Inflammatory arthritis
- Arthritis of the elbow
- Arthritis of the hand and wrist
- Reactive arthritis
- Arthritis of the foot and ankle
- Arthritis of the hip
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Arthritis of the knee
- Arthritis of the thumb
How Common is Arthritis?
It is considered one of the leading causes of disability in the United States. About more than 54 million adults are affected by this disease.
What Are Signs and Symptoms of Arthritis?
Many people in the U.S. experience pain and disability from this condition. Some of the most common signs include decreased range of motion and limited function. Other symptoms include:
- Joint pain
Some arthritis types are associated with rheumatic diseases. Hence they cause symptoms affecting body organs that do not directly involve the joints. These symptoms involve fever, gland swelling, weight loss, and fatigue.
Common Causes of Arthritis
Several factors contribute to the occurrence of this disease. They depend on the type of arthritis that one encounters. Some arthritis types have no apparent cause and develop unpredictably in their emergence. The common causes include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis develops as a result of an overactive immune system.
- Gout most often occurs due to abnormal metabolism.
- Osteoarthritis is considered a hereditary disease.
- Injuries cause degenerative arthropathy.
Before suggesting the treatment plan to the patient, doctors must indicate the exact cause of arthritis.
Certain risk factors associated with this disease include:
- Family History
- Overweight and obesity
- Joint injuries
- Work that involves repetitive knee bending and squatting
Firstly, the doctor will perform a physical examination. He will examine your joints for the symptoms mentioned earlier. Specialists will also check your joints’ movement and recommend some laboratory or imaging tests to you.
1. Laboratory tests
Healthcare providers can detect the arthritis type after analyzing different body fluids. These fluids may include blood, urine, and joint fluid.
2. Imaging Tests
These tests are performed to identify the issues within the joint.
They are used to get the image of soft tissues, cartilage, and fluid-containing structures near the joints.
X-rays show cartilage loss, bone damage, and bone spurs. They are also used to track the progression of the condition.
5. Computerized tomography (C.T.)
C.T. scans provide an image of bone and the surrounding soft tissues.
6. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
MRIs are recommended to get detailed cross-sectional visions of soft tissues. These include cartilage, tendons, and ligaments.
Can arthritis be cured?
The primary aim of arthritis treatment is to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life. The doctor will recommend one or a combination of the following options.
The medications suggested by doctors for treating this condition depend on the type that a person experiences. Commonly used medications include:
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
For some types, physical therapy might be helpful. Exercises help to improve the movement and strengthen the muscles that surround the joints.
If traditional treatments fail to provide you with any relief, the last available option is surgery. Your doctor will suggest you undergo one of the following surgeries after carefully analyzing the severity of the condition.
- Joint repair
- The Joint replacement
- Joint fusion