What is Arthritis?
Arthritis (from Greek arthro meaning joint + itis meaning inflammation) is a form of joint disorder that involves inflammation in one or more joints. Arthritis is an informal way of referring to more than 100 types of joint diseases and related conditions. Arthritis is not a single disease; it collectively refers to joint pain or joint disease. People of all ages, gender, and race may have arthritis. Common symptoms of arthritis include swelling, pain, stiffness and reduced mobility or flexibility. Symptoms may be temporary or permanent and range from being mild to severe. They may stay about the same for years but may get worse over time. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain, inability to perform daily activities and make it difficult to walk or climb stairs. Arthritis can cause permanent joint changes or damage.
Symptoms of Arthritis
A most common symptom of arthritis is joint pain, which can vary in severity. Other symptoms include swelling, joint stiffness and aching around the joints. Arthritic disorders like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis can affect other organs in the body, leading to a variety of symptoms. Symptoms may include:
- Inability to use the hand or walk
- Stiffness of joints
- Malaise and fatigue
- Weight loss
- Poor sleep
- Muscle aches and pains
- Difficulty moving the joint
It is common in advanced arthritis for significant secondary changes to occur. For example, arthritic symptoms might make it difficult for a person to move around and/or exercise, which can lead to secondary effects, such as:
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of flexibility
- Decreased aerobic fitness
These changes, in addition to the primary symptoms, can have a huge impact on the quality of life.
What is the different type of Arthritis?
There are several types of arthritis as mentioned above. However, the most common forms of arthritis are covered below.
Osteoarthritis (OA) or Degenerative Arthritis
Osteoarthritis (OA) also known as degenerative arthritis, is a type of joint disease that results from normal wear and tear. It involves the breakdown of joint cartilage and underlying bone. The most common symptoms are joint pain and stiffness. Initially, symptoms may occur only following exercise, but over time may become constant. Other symptoms may include joint swelling and decreased range of motion. It can affect work and normal daily activities. Unlike other types of arthritis, only the joints are typically affected.
Causes of OA include joint injury, abnormal joint or limb development, and sometimes inherited factors. The risk of OA is greater in those who are overweight and perform activities that result in high levels of joint stress. Osteoarthritis is believed to be caused by mechanical stress on the joint and low-grade inflammatory processes. It develops as cartilage is lost with eventually the underlying bone being affected. As pain may make it difficult to exercise, muscle loss may occur. Diagnosis is typically based on signs and symptoms with medical imaging and other tests occasionally used to either support or rule out other problems.
Osteoarthritis can be prevented through an active lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding injury and repetitive movements. While the symptoms of osteoarthritis are mild or moderate, they can be managed by:
- Regular physical activity
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Balancing activity and rest
- Using hot and cold therapies
- Strengthening the muscles around the joint
- Using assistive devices
- Avoiding excessive repetitive movements
- Taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medicines
- Joint replacement if symptoms are severe causing limited mobility
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder that primarily affects joints. It typically results in warm, swollen, and painful joints. Pain and stiffness often worsen following rest. Most commonly the wrist and hands are involved with typically the same joints involved on both sides of the body. The disease may also affect other parts of the body. While the cause of Rheumatoid Arthritis is not clear, it is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The underlying mechanism involves the body's immune system attacking the joints. This results in inflammation and thickening of the joint capsule. It also affects the underlying bone and cartilage.
With Rheumatoid Arthritis, early diagnosis and aggressive treatment are critical. Slowing disease activity can help minimize or even prevent permanent joint damage. Remission is the goal and may be achieved through the use of one or more medications known as disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). The goal of treatment is to reduce pain, improve function, and prevent further joint damage.
Gout is usually characterized by recurrent attacks of acute inflammatory arthritis—a red, tender, hot, swollen joint. The joint at the base of the big toe is the most commonly affected. It may also present as tophi, kidney stones, or urate nephropathy. It is caused by elevated levels of uric acid in the blood. The uric acid crystallizes, and the crystals deposit in joints, tendons, and surrounding tissues. Clinical diagnosis may be confirmed by seeing the characteristic crystals in joint fluid. Treatment with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), steroids, or colchicine improves symptoms. Once the acute attack subsides, levels of uric acid are usually lowered via lifestyle changes, and in those with frequent attacks, allopurinol or probenecid provides long-term prevention.
What can be done about Arthritis?
There are many things that can be done to preserve joint function, mobility, and quality of life. Learning about the disease and treatment options as mentioned above, making time for physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight is essential.
There is ample evidence that Boswellia helps in reducing pain and inflammation of the joints. Essentium has developed an advanced topical application formula, Rhuval Oil which is based on A.K.B.A. extracted from Boswellia which is effective in reducing pain, stiffness, and inflammation of the joints.
Note: The above statements have not been evaluated by a physician. It is always recommended to consult your physician, doctor or dietitian before trying any of the above. Try these and feel the difference, experience the quality of life. Say goodbye to pain!