Understanding And Treating Arthritis
There are many misconceptions concerning the degenerative joint disease known as arthritis. It is common for some to assume that arthritis is an ailment that solely affects the elderly, and while most of the individuals who suffered from the affliction are older, many demographics are susceptible to developing the disease.
So, in an effort to shed some light on the reality of the disorder, we'll breakdown everything from the causes of arthritis to the best available treatments today.
What Is Arthritis?
Arthritis is defined as inflammation that occurs in one or more joints in the body. Inflammation can manifest in the form of pain, swelling, and stiffness, which usually worsens in severity with age.
Are There Different Types Of Arthritis?
Yes, the main variations of arthritis are:
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common, long-lasting form of arthritis. It occurs when the protective cartilage between your bones wears down and come together, causing inflammation to develop and accumulate over time. The damage to your joints usually stems from variables such as overuse, injured ligaments, dislocated joints, and torn cartilage. Osteoarthritis can occur any joint in your body, but it most commonly affects joints in your spine, hip, knees, and hands.
While OA can be difficult to diagnosis in its early stage of development, physicians have a better chance of identifying early OA if an individual suffered an injury resulting in a fracture that required the use of an X-Ray.
A treatment plan for osteoarthritis will largely depend on the location of the inflammation and the
severity of your symptoms. Common forms of treatment include:
- Weight loss
- Icing/Heat Therapy
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is described as an autoimmune disease (a disease where your immune system mistakenly attacks parts of your body, such as your skin and joints) that can cause pain and damage to joints throughout your body. RA is a chronic illness that can manifest in the form of joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and the deterioration of joint functionality when flares or exacerbation occur. When an individual is in remission, these symptoms usually disappear completely.
There are many ways physicians go about diagnosing RA. The least intrusive form of identifying RA includes examining your range of motion, checking joints for warmth and tenderness, testing muscle strength and reflexes, and looking for swelling and redness. Also, a physician may ask whether you're suffering from inflammation on both sides of your body (i.e., in both hands or both knees), as this information can be used to help differentiate between OA and RA. A more invasive diagnosis includes drawing blood to examine your antibodies and conducting an MRI, ultrasound, or X-ray.
While there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, a system can be created to help all those who are
afflicted with the ailment increase their quality of life. The system usually consists of:
- Setting specific testing goals to determine the best approach to extending states of remission.
- Testing reactants and routinely monitoring an individual's treatment progress.
- Adjusting treatment plan with the objective of maximizing results.
Treatments for RA include:
- Dietary adjustments
- Home remedies
Whether you're living with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, there are options concerning the treatment and management of your disease. Katalyst is a medical practice located in Chesterfield, MO, near St. Louis. We offer various forms of treatment via a customized care plan specifically designed to help enhance your quality of life. To learn more about our treatment options, contact us at Katalyst today.
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