What is arthritis?
An inflammation of a body joint or its component tissues, accompanied by pain, soreness, and inflexibility in that area, which is basically a result of causes ranging from infection, distress, degenerative changes or metabolic disorders.
In simple words, affected joints are unable to move smoothly past one another.
In medical parlance, arthritis refers to a collection of more than 100 rheumatic diseases and conditions that can cause pain, stiffness and soreness in the joints. If left untreated, arthritis can cause irreversible damage to the joints.
What are the various forms of arthritis?
Arthritis can appear suddenly or gradually, and occurs in various forms, but osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two most common.
There are four basic types of arthritis:
1. Inflammatory arthritis – inflammation of tissues related to joints. Connective tissue diseases, crystal deposition diseases, infectious arthritis, and spondylitis are examples of inflammatory arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common variety. Other types are Ankylosing spondylitis, Reiter’s syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
2. Degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis) – corrosion of the cartilage lining the joints and lessening of new bone formation underneath the cartilage. The disease is quite common in the latter part of life where the continued slow damage causes increasing disability.
3. Nonarticular rheumatism – sometimes called soft-tissue rheumatism, and includes conditions like tendonitis, bursitis, fibrositis. This condition is related to sleep disturbances or even muscular abnormalities.
4. Other diseases may also give rise to arthritis. There exist neurological, blood and endocrine related disorders giving rise to rheumatic diseases.
How to recognize arthritis?
Symptoms differ from person to person depending on his age, the affected area and the type of arthritis. The most common symptoms include:
§ Swelling in one or more joints
§ Stiffness around the joint that usually occurs in the early morning
§ Constant or recurring pain in a joint
§ Tenderness around a joint
§ Difficulty using or moving a joint normally
§ Redness in a joint accompanied by heat there
Other possible symptoms:
§ Occasional fever
§ Weight loss and fatigue
§ Breathing difficulty
§ Rashes and itching
Who all are at risk of arthritis?
Younger people have a relatively lower risk of having arthritis but still comprise a sizeable portion of affected people.
Prevalence is generally higher among women as compared to men, especially osteoarthritis. Arthritis is the leading cause of mobility limitation in women aged 45 years and above. So all you ladies, remember prevention is better than cure.
What are the common causes?
The causes of arthritis usually depend on the type of arthritis. Common causes include:
§ injury (leading to osteoarthritis),
§ irregular metabolism
§ some infection
§ unknown reasons in case of rheumatoid arthritis
What treatment procedure to follow?
Early diagnosis and treatment helps……
The most common complication of arthritis is functional disability. However, do not get scared! General health upkeep, rest, and gradual treatment can avoid this situation.
There is no complete remedial treatment, only control through a combination of heat fomentation, massage, and supervised exercise. The various treatment options help manage pain and reduce deformity and disability.
A correct diagnosis of the type of arthritis is important before undergoing any drug therapy. Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis can be treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Do not be your own doctor. Remember, all medications can have side effects, so the dosage and duration of treatment should essentially be under trained medical supervision. Surgical treatment includes arthroscopic surgery and joint replacement.
Tips to control and prevent the condition:
§ Weight reduction accompanied by regular physical activity: Keep your weight under control, as it reduces the risk of getting arthritis, especially osteoarthritis.
§ Strengthen the muscles: through regular exercise – especially weight bearing exercise. It helps maintain physical mobility and slows the development of disability.
§ Prevent stress on a particular joint as well as injuries: Repetitive stress or injuries on any joint increases the risk of osteoarthritis.
What kind of diet regime need to be followed to take care of this condition:
Nutrition is an important aspect in the treatment of arthritis.
For a person suffering from arthritis, his diet should be rich in fruits and vegetables (flavonoid rich foods), especially those that are rich sources of anti-oxidants so as to protect against cellular and joint damage.
Try and avoid all processed foods, complex carbohydrates, including sugar and fruit juices. Increase intake of high fibre foods. Limit fat intake to a minimum.
An important aspect in reducing arthritis pain is elimination of any type of food sensitivity. Get a test for food sensitivity because there may be allergies involved.
Food supplements may be introduced. Anti-oxidants help prevent damage to the cartilage of the bone. Vitamin E slows down the breakdown of cartilage as well as stimulates the manufacture of cartilage components. Vitamin C is necessary for the manufacture of collagen, the major support protein of cartilage.
How does physical therapy help?
Physical therapy is very important in reestablishing joint harmony. Various physical therapy treatments include exercise, heat, cold, and diathermy(heat treatment using electricity); and are beneficial in increasing joint mobility and decreasing pain. Avoid physical activities that excessively put strain on the joints.
Some natural treatment options:
No medicine or drug can completely cure arthritis or slow its progression without causing side effects. But, you can help repair your joints as well as slow degeneration with natural treatment therapies.
Natural Solution: Arthcare Oil – An Anti-inflammatory Herbal massage oil. http://www.ayurvediccure.com/arthcareoil.htm
Arthcare is anti-inflammatory herbal oil, which not only gives a relief from joint pains but also strengthens the bone tissues, the skeletal and the neuromuscular systems, giving comfortable movements of joints and muscles.
Massage with the yellow wonder herb – turmeric. No question of any side effects, plus turmeric also acts as an anti-oxidant to help protect joints.
Ginger, an ayurveda herb, if consumed in small amounts on a regular basis can reduce symptoms and occurrence of rheumatoid arthritis.
Aromatherapy technique involves the use of extracted oil from flowers, plants and trees in combination with massage and steam inhalation – helps relaxation, pain relief.
Yoga involves a combination of breathing exercises and relaxation to help in blood circulation and movement of joints.
Osteopathy includes the manipulation of the body to restore normal action and decrease pain. It is not recommended for those suffering from osteoporosis.
Reflexology involves rubbing the feet and the palm of the hand to help progress the state of rest of the body, and also generate a warm sensation. This is an ideal method for stress management and overall health continuance; factors that cause arthritis.
So, come on get moving, and do not allow this ageless epidemic disease become a debilitating factor in your daily life.