The CDC reports that arthritis affects 54.4 million US adults, which is about 1 in 4. It is one of the primary reasons behind work disability in the United States and is one of the most common chronic conditions in the nation alone. Some risk factors can increase an adult’s likelihood of receiving an arthritis diagnosis. While some risk factors can be controlled, some cannot. By changing the risk factors you can control, you can decrease your arthritis risk, or reduce arthritis symptoms.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a painful condition in which inflammation affects one or more joints. While there are more than 100 kinds of arthritis, with different causes and different treatment methods, the two most common types are Osteoarthritis (OA) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).
Types of Arthritis
Arthritis is inflammation (or swelling) found in one or more joints. It describes more than 100 conditions that the joints, tissues around the joint, or connective tissues. Note that while there are many types of arthritis, but two remain the most common:
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is commonly referred to as a degenerative joint disease, describing “wear and tear” on the joints. It occurs most frequently in the knees, hips, and hands. In cases of osteoarthritis, the joints begin to break down, changing the underlying bone. While these usually develop slowly, they can also present in acute cases.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is both an autoimmune and inflammatory disease, which means that your mistakenly immune system attacks healthy cells in your body. Rheumatoid Arthritis primarily attacks several joints at one time. In joints affected with Rheumatoid Arthritis, the lining of the joint becomes inflamed, which can cause lasting damage and deformity to the joint.
Who Is at Risk for Arthritis?
1 in 4 adults has arthritis. Family history, age, sex, previous joint injury, and obesity all have the possibility of contributing to joint disease. Some arthritis runs in families but some arthritis, like Rheumatoid Arthritis, commonly develops more in women than in men, while some arthritis is accompanied by age, obesity, and previous injury to the joints.
What Are the Symptoms of Arthritis
The most common signs and symptoms of arthritis-related conditions involve the joints. It is important to see a doctor immediately if you notice a pattern of pain, tenderness, swelling or deformity to the jointed areas of the body. Severe arthritis, particularly in the hands and arms, can make it difficult to manage daily operations. Arthritis in weight-bearing joints can prevent you from walking comfortably or standing up straight.
Depending on the type of arthritis you have, your signs and symptoms may include:
- Decreased range of motion
Treatments for Arthritis
Arthritis cannot be cured. The main goal of treatment involves reducing pain and preventing damage to the joints. Mobility assistive devices can be beneficial in some cases, as can heating or ice packs. A combination of treatments may be required to improve joint function.
Analgesics, such as hydrocodone (Vicodin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol), are effective for pain management, though you may be prescribed nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil). Corticosteroids such as prednisone or disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs such as Humira may also be used in cases involving Rheumatoid Arthritis.
AMA medical group was founded to support every member of the community. If you have arthritis, or feel soreness, tenderness, or redness in your joints, don’t hesitate to contact us at (727) 331-8740 to schedule an appointment.