Arthritis occurs when there is inflammation in one or more of your joints. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, there are over 100 different types of arthritis. Some of the more common types of arthritis include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid, infectious , juvenile, gout, psoriatic arthritis, and scleroderma.
When there is a breakdown of joint cartilage, arthritis may form. Cartilage allows your joints to move smoothly while absorbing pressure placed on a joint during movement. Without an adequate amount of cartilage, your bones may rub against each other, causing inflammation and arthritis. Depending on the type, arthritis may develop due to an autoimmune disease, normal joint wear and tear, age, broken bone, or an infection.
Arthritis can be diagnosed through laboratory tests, imaging tests, arthroscopy, or some combination of all of these. Laboratory tests may include blood, joint, or urine collection while imaging tests can include x-rays, computerized tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and ultrasound. In some situations, your physician may insert an arthroscope (small, flexible tube) through a joint incision to look for joint damage.
Medications, physical therapy, and surgery are the three arthritis treatment methods. Analgesics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), counterirritants, disease-modifying antiheumatic drugs, biologics, and corticosteroids are all medications that may be recommended, alone on in some combination, for arthritis treatment. For some forms, physical therapy can be beneficial. Exercises can be performed to strengthen the muscle surrounding the affected joint and improve physical range of motion. When medications or physical therapy arthritis treatment do not relieve symptoms, your physician may recommend surgery. Surgery includes either joint replacement or joint fusion. In joint replacement, your damaged joint is replaced with an artificial one, and is used for larger joints, like the knees and hips. Joint fusion is typically done on smaller joints, like the fingers, ankles, and writes, which lock the ends of two bones together.
In some cases, lifestyle changes and home remedies can reduce symptoms. Overweight and obese people can reduce the stress placed on their joints by losing weight. Regular exercise also helps to keep the joints more flexible. Water activities like swimming and water aerobics are great non-weight bearing activities. Heat therapy or ice packs helps to alleviate some arthritis pain. Support devices such as walkers, canes, and raised toilet seats may it easier to go about your daily activities.
FDA Disclaimer: "The statements regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information on this Web site or in emails is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your condition. Informational material and representations have been provided by the manufacturers of the listed products."