FAQ’s on Extremity Arthritis
Although it may seem as though it were just one ailment, arthritis is a term for more than 100 disease conditions affecting almost one in seven Americans (adults and children inclusive). Literally, arthritis means “joint inflammation”.
Therefore, arthritis could be seen as inflammation in the body with concentrated areas in the hip, knee and shoulder joints. The inflammation also affects muscles, bones, and tendons around the joint areas. Many forms of arthritis are systematic, not only affecting just the ‘bones intersection’ but potentially the whole body including the lungs, limbs, and other organs. Arthritis has been responsible for 70% of the disability disorders in the United States.
Who is a candidate?
Roughly about 45 million Americans are affected by arthritis, with hundreds of thousands of children having some form of the condition.
What are the causes of Arthritis?
The causes of arthritis have not been pinpointed; scientists are performing research with genetic markers for identification. There are over 100 types of arthritis. Generally, the factors that determine arthritis include genetic make-up, lifestyle, or the combination of the two factors varying for each type of arthritis.
Age is the most common cause, the result of constant wearing on of the joint areas, the cartilage, or the ligaments. Note that “cracking,” or “popping,” your knuckles could cause complications but contributes little, or nothing, to the development of arthritis.
What are the Symptoms of Arthritis?
Symptoms could vary depending on the type of arthritis in question. The most common symptom is long-lasting pain, especially during a long period of rest or inactivity. The joints losses its flexibility and becomes stiff, so that activities like climbing stairs can become really challenging
Inflammation around the joint area and muscles may develop tiny red, painful rips (or lesions). Some forms of Systematic Arthritis could result in severe fever and fatigue. Other symptoms include weight loss, appetite loss, anemia, sore wrists, and tenderness of joints. Arthritis can be unpredictable.
Each case can differ, and the first thing a physician will attempt is to rule out other underlying conditions. An experienced general practitioner will run laboratory tests and examine the patient skillfully to construct a detailed diagnosis.
What are the surgical treatments for Arthritis?
Frankly, surgery may not help most patients suffering from arthritis. Surgery may be used to increase movement and reduce pain in complex or complicated cases. The surgery is performed by an orthopedic surgeon who corrects the deformity in the joint, and may replace it with an artificial appliance.
Medications are then prescribed to the patient to reduce pain and swelling. Corticosteroids for severe situations and NSAIDs like aspirin or ibuprofen may be used.
What is the non-surgical treatment for Arthritis?
The non-surgical treatments for arthritis involve physical therapy and focused exercises. Range-of-motion exercises help reduce stiffness, and strengthening exercises help maintain and increase muscle strength.
Heat and cold therapy may help. Heat helps relax stiff muscles, while a cold compress may numb to the pain. It is important to use therapies as recommended, as improper use could cause irreparable damage and further irritation to some joints in the body.
How successful have these treatments been?
Progress has been made over the years with innovative research searching for new ways of treating the different types of arthritis. Recently, research on the signs of early cartilage destruction in Osteoarthritis has led to new ways to rebuild it.
Lifestyle choices and dietary changes may help prevent the early onset of symptoms. The best preventative therapy for patients is regular activity that includes aerobic and core strengthening programs to have the body in the best condition it can be to ward off the onset of degenerative disease.