Everything You Need To Know About Arthritis
Arthritis is a condition in which the joints get inflamed, swell, or become tender, resulting in severe pain and other complications related to movement. In India, about 180 million people suffer from this condition, making it a common disease. It usually occurs in the feet, hands, hips, knees, and lower back.
Types of Arthritis:
Arthritis is a broad term that covers hundreds of different joint conditions varying from type to type. The most common type of arthritis includes:
This usually occurs due to the wear and tear of the cartilages, causing
enough damage to result in bone grinding directly on the bone thus causing pain and restricted movements.
To compensate for the loss of cartilage, new bone growth occurs which causes restructuring and deformity of the joints. This is especially the case with degenerative or mechanical arthritis.
It is a type of inflammatory arthritis in which inflammation starts occurring without any apparent reason.
Normally, inflammations arise to fight against viruses and bacteria during injuries. But in the case of rheumatoid arthritis, damaging inflammation occurs which is harmful and may cause damage to the affected joints resulting in pain, stiffness, and swelling.
- Gout: It is a rheumatic disease that occurs due to the deposition of uric acid crystals or monosodium urate in the joints. This results in severe pain in the affected area accompanied by redness and swelling. It is generally recurring and can lead to a degenerative form of chronic arthritis called gouty arthritis.
- Psoriatic arthritis: This type of arthritis causes joint complications with underlying damage to the skin leading to a condition called psoriasis – an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system starts attacking the healthy tissues and the joints leading to inflammation and skin disorders.This type of arthritis causes joint complications with underlying damage to the skin leading to a condition called psoriasis – an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system starts attacking the healthy tissues and the joints leading to inflammation and skin disorders.
- Childhood arthritis: This type of arthritis occurs only in young children. It incorporates several arthritis conditions such as juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), juvenile dermatomyositis, juvenile lupus, juvenile scleroderma, etc. It is a persistent and dreadful condition caused by the abnormal functioning of the urine system that leads to permanent damage to the joints. It is not curable.
- Septic arthritis: This occurs due to the growth of bacteria or fungi in the joints causing infection and joint inflammation. It commonly occurs in the knee and hips. It can develop at any age from three years to adolescence. In its chronic form, it can be fatal due to rapid joint destruction.
- Ageing: Getting older can make you more vulnerable to diseases, thus increasing the risk of developing arthritis.
- Accident or injury: Any prior or previous injury in the joints can also increase your risk of developing arthritis.
- Gender: It is believed that women are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis while men are more susceptible to gout and other types of arthritis.
- Heredity or inheritance: Having a history of arthritis in the family may increase your chances of developing it naturally.
- Excessive weight: More weight means more strain on the knees, spine, and back muscles, thus leading to the progression of knee osteoarthritis.
- Infection: Sometimes, infection in the joints caused by microbes may also lead to the development of arthritis.
- Profession: Some professions require repetitive knee bending and squatting which can lead to the development of osteoarthritis in the knee.
- Food triggers: Some kinds of foods may cause pain and inflammation, particularly
animal-derived products and refined sugar.
Signs and Symptoms
Different types of arthritis exhibit different kinds of symptoms. Being a chronic disease, symptoms can come and go or persist over time.
However, some common symptoms that patients with arthritis are more likely to suffer are:
- Pain: It is the most common symptom and can occur in one or multiple parts of the body. It may be constant or recurring.
- Swelling: Generally, the skin over the affected area or joint may become red or swollen.
- Stiffness: It is the most typical symptom of arthritis. This is likely to happen when waking up in the morning or after sitting at the desk or in the car for a long time. It can be either persistent or occur only after doing some exercises.
- Immobility: In arthritis, the movement of joints may become painful and difficult. Other varied symptoms which are specific to certain types may include chest pain,itching, skin disorders, crackling sound when the joint is moved, numbness or
tingling, fatigue, headaches, loss of sense of taste, hair fall, swollen glands, etc.
On experiencing any of the symptoms, one should immediately seek expert medical
assistance and at Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre, Nehru Nagar, Ghaziabad we have a well-experienced team of orthopaedic doctors who provide excellent consultation and treatment for arthritis in the whole of Delhi NCR and Ghaziabad.
In cases of arthritis, doctors perform a physical exam to check for swelling, redness, and warmth in the joints. However, different types of tests and examinations are done to
determine the type and nature of arthritis that the patient is suffering from.
- Fluid test: Various body fluids such as blood, urine, and joint fluid are taken and analysed to look for traces of arthritis-causing factors.
- Imaging tests: X-ray, CT-Scan, MRI, and ultrasound can be used to detect bone damage and cartilage loss. This is performed by getting detailed cross-sectional views and images of the internal structure such as bone and soft tissues. On examining the results, the doctor is able to identify the exact cause of the problem and recommend suitable treatment.
The treatment of arthritis is generally concerned with the relief of symptoms and joint functioning. There is no specific cure for the condition. Though the treatments vary according to the type, some common treatments work for all arthritis conditions. These include:
- Medication: Different kinds of painkillers, NSAIDs, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, and counterirritants are given either directly or injected into the joints to provide relief.
- Therapy: Various physical therapies are recommended to improve the range of
motion and strengthen the muscles around the joints.
These may include exercises such as walking, cycling, swimming, etc.
- Surgery: In severe cases when the mobility or pain becomes acute, various joint surgeries which includejoint fusion, repair, and replacement are performed.
- Home remedies: Regular use of assistive devices such as canes, shoe inserts, raised toilet seats, cold pads, and exercising regularly may reduce arthritis symptoms to a large extent.
- Alternative treatments: Many people use alternative therapies as well such as acupuncture, yoga, tai chi, and massage which may provide temporary relief.