Arthritis is a broad term for joint inflammations or swelling that causes pain, which worsens with age. Joints refers to a place where two bones meet, such as the knee. It can occur in one or more joints. There are many types of arthritis depending on the source, age and several other factors. A few of them are listed here:
- Osteoarthritis: it affects the cartilages (protective tissue at the end of bones).
- Rheumatoid arthritis: autoimmune arthritis where the body’s immune system attacks your joints.
- Juvenile arthritis: inflammation of joints in children.
- Infectious arthritis :joint infection which may have spread from another part of the body or wounds to the joints.
- Spondyloarthritis: inflammation that primarily affects the spine.
- Psoriatic arthritis :a form of arthritis that affects people with the condition called psoriasis.
- Gout :sudden inflammation due to build up of uric acid.
Causes vary for different types of arthritis. Some of them are:
- Autoimmune diseases
- Metabolic disorders
- Joint pain
- Stiffness in joints
- Swelling of joints with or without pain
- Movement difficulties, such as difficulty in walking
Diagnosis of arthritis varies depending on the type:
- Physical examination
- Evaluating signs and symptoms
- Family history
- Analysing body fluids (blood, urine and joint fluid)
- Imaging procedures such as CT, MRI, X-ray and ultrasound.
Mostly arthritis is inherited and hence there are no proper preventive measures. Some precautionary steps are:
- Take good care and avoid injuries
- Stay clean and avoid infections
The major treatment objective for arthritis is to relieve the symptoms and improve functioning of the joints.
- Medications such as painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed by your doctor to reduce pain and swelling.
- Physiotherapist is an important part in the treatment of arthritis. Exercises to improve muscle strength and movements will be trained by your physiotherapist.
- Surgery is an option when other measures don’t help. Surgical methods include:
- joint repair :re-aligning the joints
- joint fusion :fusing together two bones
- joint replacement :removal of damaged joints and replacing with an artificial one.
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