There is a misconception that arthritis has been causing trouble for hundreds of years but experts say it is actually a rather modern disease.
There is, for example, very little evidence of arthritic damage found in human remains before the year 1700 and even in Egyptian mummified remains.
These days, however, arthritis incidents are on the rise, affecting millions of people around the world. In the United States alone, there are more than 40 million Americans who suffer from some form of arthritis and if no measures are taken to control it, the number of people affected by it may continue to rise. This article is designed to inform you about rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, causes, and prevention.
Who Gets Arthritis?
Arthritis is not a gender-specific disease and it can affect people regardless of their race, location or socio-economic level. Anybody can get arthritis but it often appears in adults and older people. Arthritis affects not just humans but animals as well. Dogs in their older years, for example, have an increased risk of canine rheumatoid arthritis while older cats may develop feline arthritis. When this happens, it is often necessary that animals are placed under veterinary care and symptoms treated with medications and therapy.
Symptoms Of Arthritis
There are over 100 different types of arthritis and they are often characterized by swelling, stiffness, and pain in the joints. In rheumatoid arthritis, for example, white blood cells can develop rapidly in the synovial membrane found in the cartilage of the joints and result in pain and inflammation, making it difficult to move the joint. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage becomes damaged, which may be replaced by painful bone outgrowths.
Common Types Of Arthritis
The most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. Almost all types of arthritis are noninfectious although there are some which may be spread.
Lyme disease, an inflammatory form that can be transmitted by tick bites, is spread through bacterial infection. If it’s untreated, it can lead to inflammation of the joints, specifically the knees. This form, like other infectious arthritis types, can be cured with antibiotics.
Some forms of arthritis, such as gout and infectious arthritis, can be prevented through diet and care. Gout, for example, is often the result of excessive intake of foods containing uric acid, which results in the deposition of crystals in the joints. These crystals cause the pain and inflammation associated with this form of arthritis.
Diet And Arthritis
Maintaining a good diet is doubly beneficial for arthritis because it helps shed extra pounds and eases the pressure off the joints which helps relieve the pain. Avoiding certain foods, such as high-fat meats and organ meats have also shown some promise in relieving inflammation.
Aside from having a healthy diet, using supplements may also help. Vitamins, minerals and other supplements such as fish oils may be helpful in ensuring that the body is healthy. Antioxidants may also be used to encourage cell repair.
Is There A Cure For Arthritis?
Unless what you have is an infectious form, don’t expect a cure because none has been discovered yet. However, it can be treated and symptoms can be managed. Treatment consists of medications and therapy that will reduce the symptoms of arthritis and allow the patient better joint mobility and relieve pain, regardless of which area of the body is affected.
Most medications are in the form of pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs. Depending on the form of arthritis, drugs that retard the disease’s progress may also be prescribed.
Treatment For Arthritis
Drugs are often prescribed to help relieve the symptoms often associated with arthritis, especially if they are severe. Physical therapy might also be used in order to improve the mobility of the affected area, especially the knees, ankles, hands, neck, and fingers.
Mild, low-impact exercises are preferable to heavy exercises because they are easier on the joints. Exercises such as yoga, tai chi, and walking are beneficial. Water exercises are also an excellent option. For arthritis of the hands where the thumb and fingers are affected, special exercises may be performed regularly in order to maintain the hand’s ability to flex.
An End To Pain?
Ending pain is often the goal of arthritis treatment. However, it doesn’t have to be the only thing you should have in mind when dealing with arthritis. Effective treatment often goes beyond just providing relief when pain occurs. It is often a matter of addressing the problem at its roots and not just performing corrective measures when the problems begin. This is why it’s important for patients to know that managing arthritis is not just about stopping the pain but also preventing it.
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