Understanding Arthritis

Arthritis is a group of conditions characterized by inflammation brought about by damage in the joints. Joints are areas in the body where two different bones meet. They function to move the different body parts connected by the bones. Damage in these areas of the body can cause inflammation as well as pain.

Types of arthritis

There are different types of arthritis that can affect people. The different types of arthritis range from those that are associated with the wear and tear of cartilage in the joints such as osteoarthritis to the ones associated with an overactive immune system such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Others are caused by an infection in the joints as characterized by septic arthritis. Some types of arthritis such as gout are brought about by metabolic abnormalities in the body. There are over a hundred types of arthritis known. Collectively, they make up one of the most common chronic illness in the United States.

Symptoms of arthritis

Pain is the most common symptom associated with all types of arthritis. The level of pain would depend on the type of arthritis as well as on its location or the joint area in the body that it affects.

Pain caused by arthritis usually leads to limited function of the affected joints. Other symptoms include stiffness, swelling, warmth and a bit of redness and tenderness in the joint area affected.

There are also some types such as rheumatoid arthritis that may also affect other organs of the body that do not directly involve the joints. And because of this, some people with arthritis may also experience other symptoms such as gland swelling, fever, fatigue and weight loss.

Diagnosis of arthritis

Diagnosis of arthritis in people may depend on the pattern of symptoms. Also part in diagnosing arthritis includes the results coming from a battery of tests such as taking x-rays of the affected joint area, checking the blood as well as taking urine samples.

It may sometimes take several doctor and clinic visits before a correct diagnosis can be made. Early diagnosis of this condition is important since early detection can help provide adequate treatments and therefore prevent irreversible damage and possible disabilities.

How to treat arthritis?

With various types of arthritis present, treatment may vary according to a specific type of the condition.

For some types of arthritis, medication and taking dietary supplements may already be adequate while some may require physical and occupational therapy as part of the treatment.

Lifestyle changes such as avoiding certain types of foods as well as losing weight may also form part of arthritis treatment. Surgery may be required for those afflicted with eroding forms of arthritis.