Though the term arthritis simply means joint inflammation, it is often used to describe more than two hundred conditions that affect the joints and the surrounding and connective tissues. Arthritis is a rheumatic condition, the most common form of it being osteoarthritis. Gout, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and fibromyalgia are the other common conditions that are related to this condition.
This particular rheumatic condition often causes stiffness, swelling, and pain in and around different joints of the body. These are symptoms that develop either suddenly or gradually. Some of such conditions also affect the immune system as well as internal organs of the body. Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis are some of the other forms of arthritis that affect multiple organs causing widespread symptoms.
According to the studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 54.4 million adults in America have been diagnosed with some forms of arthritis. In addition to this, 23.7 million people among them were seen to be having reduced activity in their daily lives. Arthritis is a common condition in adults who are aged above 65, but there are also chances for it to affect people of all ages, even children.
Facts on Arthritis
There are a few key points everyone should know about arthritis and listed below are a few among them.
- Arthritis is a rheumatic condition and it refers to around two hundred rheumatic conditions that affect the joints as well as the surrounding and connective tissues in the body. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and lupus are two of those conditions which are common than the other.
- Arthritis can often cause many symptoms and affect a person’s ability to do his/her everyday tasks.
- Physical exercises and activities by a person can have positive effects on improving the symptoms of arthritis such as function, pain, and mental health.
- The factors that are helpful for the development of arthritis often include genetic makeup, immune system dysfunction, infections, injury, abnormal metabolism, etc.
- Treatment of arthritis usually aims at controlling its symptoms which include minimizing the damage in the joints, reducing the pain and thus improving the quality of life. It usually involves therapies, medications and patient education and support.
Treatment of Arthritis
Arthritis treatment aims at reducing the pain, minimizing the damage of joints and improving the daily function and quality of life. These can be controlled by using medications and by adapting different lifestyle strategies which can, in turn, protect the affected joints from further damage.
The common methods of treatment involve medications, education, and support to patients, occupational and physical therapy, weight loss, surgery, non-pharmacologic therapies, joint replacement, etc.
Most non-inflammatory types of arthritis like osteoarthritis are treated by using pain-reducing medicines, weight loss, physical activity, etc. This kind of treatment is also used in treating inflammatory types of arthritis such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and these are treated with the use of medications like non-steroidal and anti-rheumatic drugs, corticosteroids and biologics.
Tips for Self-Management
There are many things to know about self-management, sticking to which can reduce the symptoms and problems associated with arthritis. The main strategies of self-management include achieving and maintain a healthy weight, staying physically active, having regular check-ups, protecting joints from stress, etc.
Here are seven habits that are helpful for people suffering from arthritis to manage their conditions.
Staying Organized – Always keep the track of symptoms, medications and their side effects, levels of pain for consulting with your doctor.
Managing Fatigue and Pain – Combining a medication regimen with non-medical pain management can often be helpful for gout patients. The key to living comfortably with arthritis is about managing the pain and fatigue associated with the condition.
Staying Active – Regular exercise is very beneficial for managing the symptoms of arthritis as well as the overall health of a person.
Balancing Rest with Activity – While it is important to remain active when you suffer from gout, it is equally important in taking an ample amount of rest when the condition is active.
Maintaining a Healthy Diet – Maintaining a balanced diet is very important for gout patients as it can help them in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, and in controlling inflammation. Make sure to avoid the intake of processed and animal-derived foods. Always choose a diet that includes whole plant foods that are high in antioxidants.
Improving the Quality of Sleep – Poor sleep can often worsen the pain and fatigue associated with arthritis. Therefore, it is important to improve sleep hygiene for you to find it easier to get good quality sleep. Avoid the intake of caffeine and stressful exercises in the evenings and restrict screen-time before your sleep.
Caring of Joints – Always try to use the larger and stronger joints as levers while opening doors and spreading the weight of objects like backpacks. Make sure to avoid sitting in the same position for a long time and to take regular breaks to stay mobile.