What is arthritis?
Arthritis is an inflammation of one or more joints, causing pain and stiffness that can worsen with age. There are different types of arthritis, each with different reasons such as wear and tear, infections, and underlying sicknesses. Arthritis affects extra than one hundred eighty million humans in India. Arthritis sufferers consist of women and men, youngsters and adults.
The most common types of arthritis are:
- Osteoarthritis: It is a type of joint damage that includes wear and tear of the cartilage. Osteoarthritis is more common in ladies and commonly impacts human beings from the age of 45 onwards. The components of the body most commonly affected are the knees, fingers, hips, and back.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: It is a type of Inflammatory Arthritis and is known as an autoimmune condition. Inflammation occurs when the body sends extra fluid and blood to an area to fight infection. It can affect adults of any age. Commonly it starts among people between the ages of 40 and 60. This is more common among women.
Causes of Arthritis:
The two main types of arthritis that are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis may damage joints in different ways.
Osteoarthritis affects the entire joints. It causes changes in the bones and worsens the connective tissues that attach muscle to bone and hold the joint together. Also, it causes inflammation of the joint lining.
The inflammation and extra fluid in a joint can cause the following problems:
- It can make joint movement difficult and painful.
- Chemicals in the fluid can damage the bone and joint.
- The extra fluid can stretch the joint capsule. Whenever a joint capsule is stretched, it never returns to its original position.
- Chemicals in the fluid can irritate nerve endings, which can be painful.
Risk factors for arthritis include:
- Family history/hereditary- Some types of arthritis run in families, so you may be more likely to develop arthritis if your parents or siblings have the disorder.
- Age- The risk of both types of arthritis increases with age.
- Sex- Women are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than men.
- Previous joint injury- People who have injured a joint, perhaps while playing a sport, are more likely to develop arthritis in that joint.
- Obesity- Carrying excess pounds puts stress on joints, particularly your knees, hips, and spine. So, people with obesity have a higher risk of developing arthritis.
Severe arthritis especially when it affects hands and arms can make it difficult for us to perform daily activities.
Symptoms of Arthritis:
- Joint inflammation from arthritis is characterized by joint stiffness, swelling, redness, pain, and warmth.
- Tenderness of the inflamed joint can be present with or without pain
- When large joints are involved, such as the knee, there can be cartilage loss with motion limitation from the joint damage.
- When arthritis affects the small joints in fingers, bone growth, and hand grip loss.
Arthritis can also cause symptoms affecting various organs of the body that do not directly involve the joints like:
- Gland swelling
- Weight loss
- Feeling unwell
- Even symptoms from abnormalities of organs such as the lungs, heart, or kidneys.
Diagnosis of Arthritis
Doctors will do a physical examination of the affected area. They may ask you to move your knee, ankle, or wrist. They may examine to see whether there is any swelling, redness, or warmth in the affected area. Based on symptoms your clinician may ask you to go for some blood tests and some radiological tests like x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and ultrasound.
Physical therapy may be useful for a few types of arthritis. Exercises can enhance the range of motion and strengthen the muscle tissues surrounding joints.
- Painkillers- These medications help relieve arthritis pain, but have no effect on inflammation like acetaminophen. And if the pain is severe opioids might be prescribed, such as tramadol which can act on the central nervous system to relieve pain.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)- NSAIDs reduce both pain and inflammation like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen (Aleve)
- Counterirritants-Some varieties of creams and ointments contain menthol, the ingredient that makes hot peppers spicy. Rubbing these creams on the skin over your aching joint may interfere with the transmission of pain signals from the joint itself.
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)- DMARDs slow or stop your immune system from attacking your joints. These are often used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Example include methotrexate
- Corticosteroids- Drugs which include prednisone and cortisone, reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system. Corticosteroids could be either injected directly into the painful joint or taken orally.
If conservative measures don't help, the doctor may suggest surgery, such as:
- Joint repair- In some instances, joint surfaces can be smoothed or realigned to reduce arthritis pain and improve function. These types of procedures can often be done through small incisions over the joint.
- Joint replacement-This procedure removes your damaged joint and replaces it with an artificial one. Hips and knees are the most commonly replaced joints.
- Joint fusion- This procedure is more often used for smaller joints, such as those in the wrist, ankle, and fingers. It removes the ends of the two bones within the joint after which locks those ends together until they heal into one inflexible unit.
If you are suffering from a severe arthritis problem, visit Aakash Healthcare today. Aakash Healthcare Super Specialty Hospital is one of the best hospitals for arthritis treatment. We have one of the best Rheumatologists in Delhi. The department of Orthopaedics and Joint Replacement per-form robotic arm assisted Arthroscopic Surgery, Traumatic Orthopaedic Surgery, Hand, Shoulder & Elbow Surgery, Spine Surgery, Articular Surface Replacement Hip Surgery, Foot & Ankle Surgery, and Total Knee & Hip Replacement Surgery among several others.