Arthritis

Arthritis

Arthritis Joint Pain

“Arthritis is a form of joint disorder that involves inflammation of one or more joints.”
Source: Wikipedia

According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 70 million Americans suffer from some form of arthritis. We have longed believe that arthritis only strikes those in the elderly community – affecting three out of five people aged 65 and older – there are a number of people in younger generations who also show signs of this disease: two out of every five people aged 45 to 64 are affected, and between the ages of 18 to 44, one out of every five people suffers from arthritis. In fact, nearly 300,000 cases have of children affected by arthritis have also been recorded.

While there is no cause for alarm, it is wise to be aware that arthritis is more prevalent in our society than most people may know. There are over 100 different forms of arthritis, the most common form, osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease), is a result of trauma to the joint, infection of the joint, or age. Other well known arthritis forms are rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and related autoimmune diseases. Septic arthritis is caused by joint infection.

The most common complaint of people suffering from arthritis is joint pain, pain that is often a constant and may be localized to the joint affected. This pain is most often due to inflammation that occurs around the joint, damage to the joint from disease, daily wear and tear of joint, muscle strains caused by forceful movements against stiff painful joints and fatigue.

While elevated levels of uric acid can cause gout, and specific infections can cause certain forms of arthritis, the causes of many other forms of arthritis are still unknown, though scientists are studying what the role of factors such as genetics, lifestyle, and environment in determining who will suffer from arthritis.

Osteoarthritis

A joint affected by OsteoarthritisOsteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, typically occurring in the elderly, and can affect both the larger and smaller joints hands, feet, back, hip, and knee), as well as the weight-bearing joints (spine and pelvis). Osteoarthritis is essentially acquired from daily wear and tear to joints, although it can also occur as a result of injury. While osteoarthritis cannot be cured, it is possible to prevent the condition from worsening. Physical therapy to strengthen muscle and joints has proven helpful. For some patients, weight loss can reduce the stress to the affected joint.

Risk Factors: prior joint trauma, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle

Image Source: Nanda Nursing Interventions

Rheumatoid arthritis

A joint affected by Rheumatoid ArthritisRheumatoid arthritis, which is one of the most harmful forms of the disease, is a disorder in which the body’s own immune system attacks the body tissues. The attack is not only directed at the joint, but to many other parts of the body. Most damage occurs to the joint lining and cartilage, which eventually results in the erosion of the two opposing bones. Rheumatoid arthritis often affects joints in the fingers, wrists, knees and elbows. The disease is symmetrical, affecting both sides of the body, and if not treated, can lead to severe deformity.

Rheumatoid arthritis affects roughly 3 million Americans, occuring mostly in people aged 20 and above. It has been found to be present in women two to three times as often as it is diagnosed in men. The average onset age for this disease has been determined to be between ages 30 and 50. In children, the disorder can present with a skin rash, fever, pain, disability, and limitations in daily activities. Often, it is not clear why the rheumatoid arthritis occurred but with earlier diagnosis and aggressive treatment, many individuals can lead a decent quality of life.

Risk factors: genetics, having specific leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes (although not everyone with these genes will suffer from rheumatoid arthritis), old age, cigarette smoking

Image source: ABC Health & Wellbeing

Gout

A joint affected by GoutGout (also known as podagra when it involves the big toe) is a medical condition usually characterized by recurrent attacks of acute inflammatory arthritis — a red, tender, hot, swollen joint. The metatarsal-phalangeal joint at the base of the big toe is the most commonly affected (approximately 50% of cases). However, 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.

In recent decades, the frequency of reported cases of gout in the Western world has increased, affecting about one to two per cent of the population at some point in their lives. This increase is believed to be attributed to increasing risk factors in the population, such as metabolic syndrome, longer life expectancy, and changes in diet. Historically, gout was known as “the disease of kings” or “rich man’s disease”.

Risk factors:  diets high in alcohol, fructose-sweetened drinks, meat, and seafood, physical trauma and surgery, genetics, metabolic syndrome (a combination of abdominal obesity, hypertension, insulin resistance and abnormal lipid levels), polycythemia, lead poisoning, renal failure, hemolytic anemia, psoriasis, and solid organ transplants, obesity in men, chronic lead exposure and lead-contaminated alcohol, Lesch-Nyhan syndrome

Image source: Healing Feet Blog

Useful liks

Arthritis Foundation

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