Arthritis

Arthritis is a form of joint disorder that involves inflammation of one or more joints. There are over 100 different forms of arthritis. The most common form, osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease), is a result of trauma to the joint, infection of the joint, or age. Other arthritis forms are rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and related autoimmune diseases.

The major complaint by individuals who have arthritis is joint pain. Pain is often a constant and may be localized to the joint affected. The pain from arthritis is due to inflammation that occurs around the joint, damage to the joint from disease, daily wear and tear of joint, muscle strains caused by forceful movements against stiff painful joints and fatigue.

Osteoarthritis

Often called "wear and tear" arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. Over time, cartilage in joints breaks down, and arthritis symptoms begin to occur. Osteoarthritis is most commonly found in the:
  • Knees
  • Hips
  • Hands and fingers
  • Spine

Typically, osteoarthritis comes on slowly. For many, the first signs are joints that ache after physical work or exercise. As the disease progresses, other most common symptoms include:

  • Pain in a joint
  • Swelling or tenderness in one or more joints
  • Stiffness after periods of inactivity, such as sleeping or sitting
  • Flare-ups of pain and inflammation after use of the affected joint
  • Crunching feeling or sound of bone rubbing on bone when the joint is used
If you experience joint pain, stiffness, and/or swelling that won't go away, you should make an appointment to see the doctor. The doctor will be able to determine if you have arthritis and, if so, what type.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease where the body's immune system attacks normal joint tissues, causing inflammation of the joint lining. This inflammation of the joint lining can cause pain, stiffness, swelling, warmth, and redness. The affected joint may also lose its shape, resulting in loss of normal movement. Rheumatoid arthritis is an ongoing disease, with active periods of pain and inflammation, known as flares, alternating with periods of remission, when pain and inflammation disappear.

Although Rheumatoid arthritis is often a chronic disease, the severity and duration of symptoms may unpredictably come and go. With Rheumatoid arthritis, people experience periods of increased disease activity alternating with periods when the symptoms fade or disappear. If you experience some of these symptoms, you may want to talk to your doctor:

  • Pain and stiffness lasting for more than 1 hour in the morning or after a long rest
  • Joint inflammation in the joints closest to the hand, such as wrist and fingers, although the neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, ankles, and feet can also be affected
  • Symmetrical pattern of inflammation, meaning both sides of the body are usually affected at the same time
  • Fatigue, an occasional fever, and a general sense of not feeling well.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described above, it is important to find out from a doctor if you have Rheumatoid arthritis.

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Author: Soneet Aggarwal