- Aging & Longevity
Arthritis – Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment
The term arthritis means inflammation of joint marked by pain, warmth, redness, and swelling of the joint in which it has occurred. Arthritis includes a number of rheumatic diseases and ailments. Arthritis can affect both men and women of all ages but is most predominant in aging people.
Types of Arthritis:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: It is one of the most prevalent and disabling joint deformity also known as systemic inflammatory disorder. Rheumatoid arthritis mainly affects the synovial joints.
- Septic Arthritis: Can affect people of any age and refers to an infection in the joint usually caused by bacteria.
- Gouty Arthritis: Occurs in males between 40 and 50 years of age and may be associated with elevation of blood uric acid.
- Traumatic Arthritis: Is due to trauma or shock from a direct or indirect injury to the joint.
- Osteoarthritis: Is caused by wear and tear of joint due to prolonged use and is most prevalent in women than men. Osteoarthritis is also related to aging and longevity.
- Reactive Arthritis: Is referred to an inflammatory joint response to infection. This is an autoimmune disorder and includes inflammation of the eyes and inflammation of the joints.
Symptoms of Arthritis
- Pain is the most common symptom, which usually prompts the patients to seek medical attention.
- Other symptoms of arthritis include limited range of motion, skin redness around the joints, joint stiffness, etc.
Diagnosis of Arthritis
For diagnosis, an orthopedic doctor begins with the general history of the patient, including onset of symptoms and how they have evolved. The doctor also asks questions about family history and hereditary history as well as other factors and performs physical examination and functional assessment of the involved joint. The history and physical assessment is complemented by:
- Laboratory tests.
- Examination of fluid obtained from the affected joint.
Treatment of Arthritis
Treatment of arthritis depends on the origin of arthritis but usually includes measures such as controlling inflammation by use of:
- Ice packs.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs that modify the course of the arthritic process.
Also physicians can provide non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for severe conditions. Also the patient can be referred to physical therapy for rehabilitation and if needed surgical procedures can be performed to correct the deformed joints to relieve pain and regain function.
Also, orthopedic specialists use second line drugs like methotrexate, penicillamine, hydroxychloroquine, sulfasalazine, and azathioprine for the treatment of osteoarthritis. Arthritis is also treated by exercise and an arthritic patient must participate in a regular exercise program to get rid of the long-term consequences of arthritis.
Also, there are many other ways to improve some types of arthritis. For example, sexual activity can stimulate the adrenal glands to produce more corticosteroid, a hormone that reduces joint swelling and pain in arthritis. It is also believed that sexual activity can release endorphins, which help in the recovery process or rehabilitation of an arthritic patient.