Arthritis is a degenerative disease characterised by an inflammation of one or more joints. Remember that excruciating pain that you felt while trying to sit down or while making an attempt to stand up after a short spell of lazing around on the sofa? Or the recurrent stiff neck that just seems to worsen with intermittent bouts of swelling of your fingers and wrists? Well, along with a host of other possible conditions, you could also be experiencing the obvious symptoms of arthritis. Arthritis is a complex condition with more than 100 different types of arthritis in existence. Osteoarthritis (OA) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) are the common ones which are widely prevalent.
Arthritis generally worsens over a period of time and, more often than not, manifests itself in adults though children too can fall prey to it. This disease is more acquainted with women with a particular affinity towards obese people. While knees and hips are more prone to this disease, it can affect the joints of the hands, feet, neck and spine too.
What causes Arthritis?
Arthritis is demonstrated by the loss of the flexible connective tissue called cartilage that acts as a cushion between the joints. When you move around, it exerts pressure on the joints. Likewise your joints can be subject to shock when you have a sudden fall. The firm cartilage tissue acts as a shock absorber and protects the joints from unwanted pressure and shock. Loss of cartilage between the joints results in a friction due to one bone rubbing against the other. Consequently, one experiences pain and swelling amidst a plethora of other aftermaths.
Different types of arthritis have varied causes of occurrence. Osteoarthritis, a common form of degenerative arthritis, develops as a fall out of regular day-to-day wear and tear. The condition can be exacerbated with repeated injury, repetitive movements and/or an underlying infection. Genetics also play a role here with the existence of a family history of the disease increasing the propensity of the condition rearing its head amongst the descendants.
Rheumatic Arthritis, a debilitating form of inflammatory arthritis, is an autoimmune disorder. In this case, the body’s immune system goes haywire and mistakenly attacks its own tissues. It affects the fluid-producing soft tissue called synovium that exists in your joints and nourishes the cartilage. Moreover, it lubricates the joint which keeps the joint flexible. Rheumatic Arthritis, if left unchecked, can lead to joint erosion and can cause permanent joint damage in the long run.
Other common types of arthritis include infectious arthritis that is induced by a bacterium, virus or fungus and metabolic arthritis triggered by an excessive build up of uric acid in the form of crystalline deposits in the joints.
Symptoms of Arthritis
Stiffness, tenderness and swelling of joints are universal ramifications of arthritis. One can experience limited mobility due to muscle weakness which can also metamorphose into permanent joint deformity and damage to vital organs, if left untreated. Often, one encounters sharp pain which can be sporadic or continuous. You may notice occasional redness of the skin around the affected joint. Anaemia and fever are also associated with chronic RA.
Treating Different Types of Arthritis
Maintain an Optimal Weight
A healthy weight can significantly reduce the probability of developing OA. Shed those extra kilos by working out and opt for a healthy and a balanced diet. Avoid refined, processed food and consumables that are pro-inflammatory. Arthritis is often marked by inflammation, the body’s internal defence arsenal to combat infection. A diet that is rich in antioxidants can help you manage and reduce the inflammation and the related discomfort.
Stay Active with Physical Therapy
The primary goal of treating arthritis is pain management and improving joint function. A diligent regime of physical therapy can do a world of good to the limp muscles around the affected joint and help the weak muscles regain their strength. Exercises like swimming keep the joints agile and active without putting undue pressure on them. An active lifestyle with a harmonious blend of adequate rest can go a long way in managing the symptoms of arthritis effectively.
This deadly habit can not only lead to morbidity in the form of lung cancer, pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but can also trigger RA in people endowed with specific genes. Research indicates that smoking has the ability to stimulate the awry immune system and negate the healing effects of medications and other treatments. Quitting smoking will help you minimise your chances of developing RA and will also impact your overall health positively. So, let go of this menace and embrace a healthy lifestyle.
Tackle Arthritis Pain with Supplements
Over-the-counter medicines like analgesics, anti-inflammatory drugs and topical menthol creams can help you mitigate the pain and inflammation successfully. Timely intake of antibiotics can arrest the joint infection at its nascent stage and prevent it from becoming wide-spread. Natural supplements like Tongkat Ali can fight arthritis linked symptoms by augmenting the strength of the supportive tissues such as muscle, bone and cartilage. It works in tandem with physical therapy to help you overcome the diminished range of motion – a frequent symptom induced by arthritis.
Arthritis can be a painful disorder to live with as it poses an impediment to execution of a normal lifestyle. However, proper pain and inflammation management and a healthy and active way of living can provide you with long-term aid to get rid of all arthritis related symptoms without the need of extreme measures such as surgery and joint replacement therapies.
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