Arthritis is a disease that causes severe pain, inflammation and stiffness in the joints. It can affect one or multiple joints. Though there are several types of arthritis, the most common are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Usually, the symptoms develop gradually, but in some cases, they might be sudden. It is more common in overweight people and is more prevalent among women than in men.
The most common symptoms of arthritis are:
- Swelling and redness around the joints
Osteoarthritis is caused by the wear-and-tear damage of the joint’s cartilage. Gradual damage can cause bone grinding directly on bone, which causes pain and restricts movement over the years.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system invades the synovial membrane (joint capsule lining) due to which this layer becomes inflamed.
Obesity: Being overweight increases the chances of developing Arthritis.
Genes: Studies indicate that some kinds of arthritis are hereditary. The genes might make an individual more susceptible to the external environmental triggers.
Sex: Women are more prone to osteoarthritis whereas men are more prone to gout.
Injury: A previously injured joint is susceptible to arthritis in the years to follow.
Age: The susceptibility to several kind of arthritis increases with progression of age.
The treatment of arthritis focuses on relieving the symptoms.
Analgesics: Medications like acetaminophen and tramadol helps in relieving the pain but has no effect on the inflammation.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: Medications such as ibuprofen helps with reduction of pain as well as inflammation
Corticosteroids: These drugs help with the reduction of the inflammation as well as suppress the immune system.
Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs: These drugs are used to prevent or slow down the immune system’s attack on the joints.They are used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
Joint repair: In this procedure, the joint surfaces are realigned or smoothened to reduce the friction and thereby remove the symptoms.
Joint replacement: In this procedure, the damaged joint is replaced with an artificial one. The most commonly replaced joints are hip and knee.
Joint fusion: In this procedure smaller joints(wrist and fingers) are fused by removing the ends of the two bones and then locking their ends together until they fuse into one rigid unit.