The word arthritis is used to describe a condition of the inflammation of joints, especially around tendons and muscles. Inflammation of the joints affects almost forty million people in America. Over a hundred types of arthritis have been reported with one out of every seven people suffering from it.
Commonly seen types are:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis – A chronic, progressive type of arthritis in which the patient experiences deformity and immobility, especially in wrist, fingers, feet and ankles. Joints become stiff and painfully swollen.
- Osteoarthritis – A degenerative type of arthritis in which the patient experiences joint pain and stiffness. The cartilage is affected in this disease.Cartilage breaks down, and the patient has stiff joints
- Infectious arthritis – Joints are invaded by an infection which produces arthritis.
- Other types – Psoriasis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), crystalline, and ankylosing spondylitis.
What are arthritis symptoms?
Pain, stiffness and inflammation are common signs of arthritis. Patients experience constant pain in joints. Symptoms may develop at once or over a period of time. Patients are unable to perform routine chores due to joint swelling, tenderness, stiffness, redness or warmth, fatigue, or fever. Each person experiences the symptoms differently. Symptoms may last for upto two weeks in case of rheumatoid arthritis. Nevertheless, most people report good and bad days. Hand grasp may suffer. Also known as degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis is caused by deformities and abnormalities of the joints. Hand grasp may suffer. Also known as degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis is caused by deformities and abnormalities of the joints.
How can I check whether I have arthritis?
If you experience any of the aforementioned symptoms, it is likely that you’re suffering from arthritis. However, it is important to diagnose the problem before going for a treatment. Consult your doctor, who will enquire about your medical history and may request a complete blood count test and an X-ray of your bones and joints to look for visible signs. The doctor may conduct a blood test to examine disease activity after diagnosis. Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan may be done to get detailed information about joints, bones, and soft tissues. The MRI scan uses radio waves and magnetic field to produce cross-sectional images of the body, detecting minor changes in the body.
What causes arthritis?
A combination of factors may be responsible for arthritis, including injury,heredity, being overweight, or a job involving repetitive movements. Some allergic reactions or infections may also contribute to short-term arthritis, or reactive arthritis, in some people. When it comes to osteoarthritis (wear and tear arthritis), the issue comes down to cartilage degradation. The body continues to make cartilage at the same rate as it always has, however, the rate of breakdown increases. Therefore it turns into a ratio problem. One way arthritis also occurs is through trauma. For instance, a car accident may cause a cartilage defect in the knee. This “throws off” the knee biomechanics and may lead to post-traumatic arthritis. Studies conducted recently suggest that some forms of arthritis can be hereditary. Some people may have a genetic predisposition to certain types of arthritis.View Treatments Complex Regional Pain Syndrome