If you have heard about arthritis, you would probably have associated it with elderly patients, and with a great deal of body pain. There are lots of things about arthritis, however, which make it a distinctive, and yes, debilitating disease. Sadly, arthritis isn’t just restricted to the older, and it can actually come in various forms.
The term arthritis itself is derived from the Greek words for inflammation and joint, and covers a group of health conditions that affect the body’s joints. Arthritis has been proven and recorded for centuries. The first case was reported to date as far back as 4500 BC. Very simply, arthritis involves swelling of the joints, such that mere motion can lead to body pains.
Such joints are sensitive to changes in the weather, and older patients suffering from arthritis assert that their pains are best in the early hours, when they rise. Younger patients may also suffer with arthritis – the arthritic joint pain isn’t usually the overall characteristic of juvenile arthritis, but the propensity to move, or the refusal to move in any way, as in the case of particularly young kids.
To diagnose arthritis and differentiate it from regular or simple joint pain, doctors run a battery of blood tests and x-rays. Some blood tests can check for the presence of particular antibodies, since some kinds of arthritis arise from the body’s immune system found an attack on itself, which makes these kinds of arthritis autoimmune disorders. X-rays, on the flip side, can show eroding bone or cartilage.
Once arthritis is diagnosed, treatment can proceed. Treatment can come in the kind of surgery or drug therapy. Those coping with arthritis should also undergo occupational and physical therapy sessions, so they can regain the use of the limbs and maintain their blood flow steady. In all kinds of therapy, physicians ensure that pressure on the affected joints is reduced, and pain is successfully handled.
The kinds of treatment to be used depend on the sort of arthritis where the patient is affected. A few common types include the following. Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic autoimmune disorder, in which the body’s immune system launches an attack on the joints, then moves on to influence other bodily organs like the skin, heart, and lungs.
- Psoriatic arthritis is also an autoimmune disease with symptoms similar to rheumatoid arthritis. It’s normal in patients affected by psoriasis, a skin disorder. Septic arthritis is the wearing away of cartilage as a result of bacterial accumulation in and attack on the joints. This is usually brought on by cuts or gashes that penetrate to the level of the bone, and are left untreated or unwashed.
- Osteoarthritis is caused by the wearing away of cartilage that protects the bone. Due to the wonderful pain that they experience, patients with osteoarthritis might refuse to move, causing their muscles to atrophy.
- Gout is a type of arthritis caused by the accumulation of crystals of uric acid in joints. Those affected with gout need to have a low purine diet, or even to steer clear of high-protein foods such as sardines and certain kinds of fish, some mussels, sweatbreads such as kidneys and brains of animals, and alcohol.
If you think you’ve got arthritis, consult a physician about your condition and have the required tests performed. If all indications point to a positive identification, make certain to follow all directions to the hilt: take all of the drugs prescribed, avoid all of the foods which must be prevented, and attend all treatment sessions if you’re required to do so. If you know someone with arthritis, or are living with someone afflicted with the disease, have a part in monitoring the patient’s progress by ensuring the patient follows the treatment regimen, or by visiting the patient well after surgery. Arthritis is a disease that needs patience, both on the part of the affected and the caregiver, so follow all directions and ask questions if needed.