There are more than a hundred forms of arthritis and unfortunately, most of them have no definite cure. Arthritis in general is referred to as the inflammation of the joints in the body. It involves pain that is caused by damage due to a disease, muscle strain, or the plain wear and tear of the joints. The pain can either be constant or localized, and sometimes, it can come to a point that the fingers in the hands become deformed due to the severity of the condition.
Among the main forms of arthritis, osteoarthritis is perhaps the most common. Also known as degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis is actually a result of wear and tear of the joint’s cartilage. This breakdown of the cartilage causes the joints to rub against each other, resulting to stiffness and pain. Osteoarthritis usually affects the hands, knees, feet, and sometimes the hips. When the condition is severe, a joint replacement may be needed.
People who are aged 45 and up are usually the ones who acquire osteoarthritis, but while this is the case, the real cause of the condition is yet to be known. However, there are many factors that can contribute to it including old age, obesity, injury, muscle weakness, and genetics. According to experts, moving is the best way to deal with osteoarthritis, as it helps you lose excess weight that makes the condition worse.
Rheumatoid arthritis is another form of arthritis you should be aware of. Unlike osteoarthritis, this form of arthritis is caused by an infection in the joints. It is considered an auto-immune disease, which means it is a result of the body’s immune system attacking the tissues in the joints instead of protecting them. Overtime, rheumatoid arthritis may spread and affect other organs of the body, especially when left untreated or ignored.
What causes rheumatoid arthritis is unknown since it can affect both older people and young adults. Perhaps one of the best way to deal with it is to use corticosteroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, although lifestyle change can greatly lower the risk for it.
A worse form of arthritis is septic arthritis. It is caused by bacterial infection to the joints and can be increasingly painful. Just like rheumatoid arthritis, it can spread to other parts of the body and cause severe infection, although sometimes this is not the case. Bacteria, fungi, or even a virus may be a cause of septic arthritis.
It can develop from an infection in another area of the body and can spread to the joints through the bloodstream. Risk factors for septic arthritis include an already existing joint problem, skin fragility, and weak immune system. It can cause severe damage in just a short period of time when left undiagnosed and untreated.
If you think that arthritis can only be acquired by older people, think again. In the United States alone, more than 800,000 children are diagnosed with Juvenile arthritis, 50,000 of whom are diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Any child age 6 months to 16 years can acquire juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and according to experts, the more parts of a child’s body is affected with JRA, the more difficult for the symptoms to go away.
Signs of arthritis among kids may include a sore knee, wrist, or finger. A sudden swelling of the joints may also be noticed as well as stiffness of the neck and hips. Sometimes, rashes may occur that can be accompanied by fluctuating fevers. Treatment for arthritis among children may include physical therapy, regular exercise, and taking of oral medications. While the goal of taking oral medications is to reduce inflammation and pain in the joints, physical therapy and exercise aims at strengthening weak joints, bones, and muscles. The regular use of the joints can promote flexibility in stiff hands and fingers and help build strength and endurance.
While arthritis may seem to be an inevitable condition, it can otherwise be prevented or kept at bay. If you can keep your immune system in top condition through a well-balanced diet and regular physical activity, you will have a slim chance of ever developing any form of arthritis.