Know the basics

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints, and can affect multiple joints. The most two common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

  • Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis can affect the cartilage lining of your joint, which leads to pain and difficulties in movement for the sufferers. In severe condition, loss of cartilage can lead to bone rubbing on bone, altering the shape of joint and forcing the bones out of their normal position. Positions where osteoarthritis commonly appears are the joints of hands, spine, knees, hips. This type of arthritis usually develops in middle-aged people, especially in their late 40s or older.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

People who are between 40 and 50 have the high rate to face rheumatoid arthritis.

The outer cover of joint is the first place to be affected. Then, the inflammation will spread into surrounding joints. If a person has rheumatoid arthritis, he or she have to experience the change in their joint’s shape. This may break the bone and cartilage. More seriously, rheumatoid arthritis can also develop problems with other tissues and organs.

How common is arthritis?

Arthritis is quite common. It commonly affects more females than males. Furthermore, it can affect patients at any age, even in children. Most types of childhood arthritis are known as juvenile idiopathic arthritis. However, arthritis can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of arthritis?

The common symptoms of arthritis are:

  • Joint pain, even without moving;
  • Swelling and stiffness in joints;
  • Inflammation in and around the joints;
  • Restricted movement of the joints;
  • Redness of the skin around the joint;

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Know the causes

What causes arthritis?

Arthritis can develop when cartilage tissues are inflamed, causing a severe reduction. Cartilage is connective tissue responsible for protecting your bones from rubbing against each other when you are moving. The cause varies in different kinds of arthritis.

Osteoarthritis involves wear-and-tear damage to your joint’s cartilage — the hard, slick coating on the ends of bones. Damage can result in bone grinding directly on bone, which causes pain and restricted movement. This wear and tear can occur over many years, or it can be hastened by a joint injury or infection.

In rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system attacks the lining of joint capsule, a tough membrane that encloses all the joint parts. This lining, known as the synovial membrane, becomes inflamed and swollen. The disease process can eventually destroy cartilage and bone within the joint.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for arthritis?

There are many risk factors for arthritis. If you have previously injured a joint while joining strenuous activity, you may develop arthritis when you reach the middle age. Obese people also have a higher risk of having arthritis, because the excess muscles, fats, fluids, and so on can put more pressure on your joints than its ability to hold.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is arthritis diagnosed?

During the diagnosis, your doctor will check for fluid around the inflammatory joints by one of the following tests:

  • Using low levels of radiation to visualize bone, X-rays can show cartilage loss, bone damage and bone spurs. X-rays may not reveal early arthritic damage, but they are often used to track progression of the disease.
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scanners take X-rays from many different angles and combine the information to create cross-sectional views of internal structures. CTs can visualize both bone and the surrounding soft tissues.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): combining radio waves with a strong magnetic field, MRI can produce more-detailed cross-sectional images of soft tissues such as cartilage, tendons and ligaments.

By analyzing inflammation levels in your blood and joint fluids, the doctor can make conclusion what kind of arthritis you develop.

How is arthritis treated?

Arthritis can be treated completely, but there are some ways to reduce the discomfort you have to experience.

For osteoarthritis, medications are often prescribed:

  • Painkillers: they can reduce the pain, but do not improve the inflammation.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen;
  • Corticosteroids;

In severe cases, doctor can recommend you some surgeries:

  • Arthroplasty (joint replacement) to replace your joint with an artificial one;
  • Arthodesis (joint fusion): the ends of your bones are locked together until they heal and become one;
  • Osteotom: where a bone is cut and re-aligned;

Lifestyle changes & Home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage arthritis?

Beside medical treatments, some changes in your lifestyle may help you manage your arthritis.

  • Diet and exercise are two key points for you.
  • Regular and gentle exercise will keep your joints flexible. For that, swimming is a good choice for people with arthritis because it does not put pressure on your joints. Staying active is important, but you should be sure to rest when you need avoid overexerting yourself, otherwise it can worsen your condition.
  • Eating foods containing antioxidants can placate inflammation. Because weight obesity is one of causes of arthritis, you should maintain a healthy diet to reduce the risk of developing arthritis, and the symptoms if you already have it.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

Want to live your best life?
Get the Hello Doktor Daily newsletter for health tips, wellness updates and more.