Arthritis is a term often used to mean any disorder that affects joints. The term is derived from arthr (meaning ‘joint’) and itis meaning ‘inflammation’). Symptoms of arthritis generally include joint pain and stiffness. Additionally, other symptoms may include redness, warmth, swelling, and limited movement of the affected joints. However, some types may affect other organs. The onset of this condition can be gradual or sudden.
Apparently, there are over 100 types, but the most common forms are osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease) and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis typically occurs with age. It affects the fingers, knees, and hips. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that often affects the hands and feet. Other types include gout, lupus and fibromyalgia. They are all categories of rheumatic disease
Osteoarthritis involves wear-and-tear damage to your joint’s cartilage. This is the hard, slick coating on the ends of bones where they form a joint. Cartilage cushions the ends of the bones and allows nearly frictionless joint motion. However, enough damage can result in bone grinding directly on bone. This causes pain and restricted movement. This wear and tear can occur over many years. Moreover, a joint injury or infection can hasten the condition.
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In rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system attacks the lining of the joint capsule. This is a tough membrane that encloses all the joint parts. This lining (synovial membrane) becomes inflamed and swollen. The disease process can eventually destroy cartilage and bone within the joint.
Treatment of arthritis
Treatment of this condition may include resting the joint. Alternating between applying ice and heat, weight loss and exercise may also be useful. Physicians recommend medications depending on the form of the disease. These may include pain medications such as ibuprofen and paracetamol (acetaminophen). In some circumstances, a surgical ay be useful.
Osteoarthritis affects more than 3.8% of people, while rheumatoid arthritis affects about 0.24% of people. Gout affects about 1–2% of the Western population at some point in their lives. In Australia about 15% of people are affected by arthritis, while in the United States more than 20% have a type of arthritis. Overall, the disease becomes more common with age. Arthritis is a common reason that people miss work. It can also result in a decreased quality of life.