Arthritis: A Painful but Manageable Condition
The human body has 206 bones. Our arms and legs have the most noticeable joints connecting the bones within them. A lot of movements performed by the hands, legs and arms are facilitated by these joints. Arthritis is a condition where the joints are inflamed enough to reduce movement considerably. There are a few variations in the way arthritis manifests itself, resulting in different types of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis can cause massive amounts of discomfort and can be extremely painful. However, it can be managed with the right medical attention.
Causes of Arthritis
Although the exact cause of arthritis is not yet known or fully understood, several factors can contribute to developing some forms of arthritis:
- Injuries, especially sports injuries, can lead to osteoarthritis, a type of arthritis that is related to the wear and tear of the cartilage.
- Metabolic abnormalities, such as gout, can also cause arthritis.
- Hereditary factors, such as a family history, of arthritis.
- Infections can directly or indirectly cause arthritis.
- Autoimmunity and misdirected immune system problems are observed in rheumatoid arthritis.
The treatment of arthritis depends largely on the causes. An early diagnosis goes a long way in controlling and treating the condition.
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Symptoms of Arthritis
Arthritis has several trademark symptoms that help in making a diagnosis:
Stiffness of the joints
Pain in the joints
Limited mobility and functioning of the joints
A feeling of warmth in the joints
Redness of the joints
Some forms of arthritis are rheumatoid and the symptoms may manifest in other organs of the body and include:
Swelling of the glands
Sudden unexplained weight loss
Feeling of fatigue
In rare case symptoms of abnormality in the heart, kidney and lungs
Process and Importance of Early Diagnosis
The diagnosis begins with a physical examination of the joints, and a full and detailed family history. This is usually followed by certain blood and urine tests, X-Rays and joint fluid tests. The physical examination and the test reports give a full picture of the condition and help the doctor make a confirmed diagnosis.
Most forms of arthritis are easily manageable since it is just the pain and discomfort that has to be controlled.
The treatment of arthritis is dependent on the type of arthritis. However, there are some treatment methods that are followed in the case of most types of arthritis:
Physical therapy: Certain exercises are beneficial for people suffering from arthritis. Exercise can control the progress of the disease as well as maintain healthy levels of movement in the joints
Cold pack application: This is usually prescribed to control and reduce inflammation and discomfort.
Surgical procedures: In severe cases, where damage to the joint is irreversible, surgical procedures to replace the joint are prescribed.
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