While there are many conditions you may never experience or know someone who has, odds are arthritis is not one of them. Arthritis is a condition that affects the joints, causing pain and inflammation. It is one of the most common chronic conditions in the United States, affecting more than 50 million Americans. Arthritis can occur in any joint in the body, but it is most common in the hands, knees, hips, and feet. This article will discuss how arthritis affects the body and some of the treatment options available.
What Is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a term that describes a wide range of conditions that affect the joints and surrounding tissues. The most common symptom of arthritis is pain, ranging from mild to debilitating. Other symptoms include inflammation, stiffness, and damage to the joints. Depending on the type of arthritis, the symptoms may worsen with age or be more pronounced during certain activities.There are many different types of arthritis, but the most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis that typically occurs as people age. The condition affects the cartilage that cushions the ends of bones, causing the cartilage to break down over time. This can lead to pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility in the affected joints. There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but there are treatments that can help to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life. If you think you may be suffering from osteoarthritis, be sure to talk to your doctor.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disorder that typically affects the small joints in your hands and feet. Unlike the wear-and-tear damage of osteoarthritis, RA affects the lining of your joints, causing a painful swelling that can eventually lead to bone erosion and joint deformity. RA is an autoimmune disease, which means your immune system – which protects your health by attacking foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses – mistakenly attacks your body’s healthy tissues. While the exact cause of RA is unknown, a combination of genetic and environmental factors may play a role.
How Arthritis Affects The Body
As mentioned before, arthritis can affect any joint in your body, but it most commonly affects the hands, knees, hips, and feet. The symptoms of arthritis can vary depending on the type of arthritis you have as well as the severity. Next, let’s take a look at how arthritis can affect different parts of the body.
Arthritis In The Hands
The hands are especially vulnerable to arthritis, as they are constantly in use and subject to wear and tear. Several types of arthritis can affect the hands, but joint pain is the most common symptom. This pain is often worse in the morning or after long rest periods.
Other symptoms may include inflammation, stiffness, and reduced range of motion. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor for a diagnosis. However, with proper treatment, arthritis does not have to limit your ability to use your hands.
Arthritis In The Knees
In addition to the hands, the knees are the second most common area of arthritis pain, as they are constantly bearing weight and undergo a lot of stress and wear and tear. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis that affects the knees and often begins to develop in middle age. Symptoms of osteoarthritis in the knees may include pain, stiffness, swelling, and clicking or crunching sounds when moving the joint.
If you notice that walking or climbing stairs have become more challenging, it is crucial to see a doctor. While it may not be possible to cure osteoarthritis completely, there are treatments that can help relieve the pain and improve mobility.
Arthritis In The Hips
Unfortunately, the hips are also a common site of arthritis, making it difficult to move and perform everyday activities. Like the other areas of your body, several types of arthritis can affect the hips, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis. Each type of arthritis has its own set of symptoms, and treatment may vary depending on the type of arthritis.
However, some of the most common symptoms of arthritis in the hips include pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor for a diagnosis. With proper treatment, arthritis does not have to limit your ability to live a normal life.
Arthritis In The Feet
Finally, the feet are also particularly susceptible to arthritis due to the high amount of pressure they undergo on a daily basis. Sadly, most types of arthritis commonly affect the feet, each with its own symptoms and treatment options. However, osteoarthritis in the feet will typically cause pain and stiffness in the joints, as well as bone deformities.
Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, can cause inflammation, swelling, and redness in the feet. In extreme cases, it can even lead to the fusion of the bones in the feet. Treatment for arthritis in the feet depends on the specific type of arthritis but may include a combination of treatments including wear proper foot wear.
Treatment Methods For Arthritis
Fortunately, several different treatment methods are available for those suffering from arthritis. The most important thing is to seek medical help early, so the condition does not progress and cause more damage. Some standard treatment methods include:
- Weight Loss: One of the best things you can do for arthritis is to eat healthy and lose weight. This will take pressure off of the joints and help to reduce pain.
- Exercise: Exercise is another excellent way to reduce arthritis pain. It helps strengthen the muscles around the joints, providing support and stability.
- Pain Medications: There are a number of different pain medications that can be used to relieve arthritis pain. These include over-the-counter pain relievers as well as prescription medications.
- Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to treat arthritis. This is typically only done in severe cases where other treatment methods have failed.
Be Aware Of How Arthritis Can Affect Your Body
Arthritis is a common condition that can cause pain, stiffness, and deformities in the joints. While there is no cure for arthritis, several treatment methods can help relieve the symptoms. If you think you may have arthritis, it is crucial to see a doctor so that you can begin treatment early. With proper treatment, you can still live a normal and active life. Just remember to take it easy on your joints and to listen to your body when it starts to hurt.