Arthritis, what you need to know?
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is not a single disease; it is referring to joint pain or joint disease. There are more than hundred types of arthritis and related condition. It can be due to various reasons and require different kind of treatment. Arthritis is more common among women, but it can affect just anyone but more frequently as one gets older and among people who are obese and overweight. Two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (1,2).
Osteoarthritis cause cartilage (the tissue that cover the bone end) to break down. While rheumatoid arthritis attacks the join beginning with lining the joint. Another condition which often occur but to individual with younger age unlike osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are, gout, the condition is when the uric acid crystals form from too much uric acid in the blood (1,2).
Symptoms of arthritis?
The symptoms of arthritis usually develop over time, but they may also appear suddenly. Common arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness, redness, and decreased range of motion. Symptoms may come and go. They can be mild, moderate, or severe but most often it is reported to be severe in the morning. The pain may stay about the same for years but can progress or get worse over time. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain, inability to do daily activities and make it difficult to walk or climb stairs (2,3).
Arthritis can also cause permanent joint changes. These changes may be visible, such as knobby finger joints, but often the damage can only be seen on X-ray. Some types of arthritis also affect the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys, and skin as well as the joints (2,3).
What cause arthritis?
There are many causes to arthritis and different type of arthritis has different causes, as an example osteoarthritis (OA) occurs due to normal wear and tear, but an infection or injury to the joints can exacerbate this natural breakdown of cartilage tissue. Also, if you have family history of OA the risk of developing OA is higher for you (2,3).
While for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) it occurs when your body’s immune system attacks the tissues of the body. These attacks affect the synovium (a soft tissue in joints that function to nourishes cartilage and lubricates joint). RA is the kind of disease that will invade and destroy joint. It can eventually lead to the destruction of both bone and cartilage inside the joint. The exact cause of the immune system’s attacks is unknown. But scientists have discovered genetic markers that increase your risk of developing RA nowadays (2,3).
What to do?
When it comes to pain, if you notice some changes in your body, it is important for you to seek help so that you will get the accurate diagnosis on it, the earlier the better. So, talk to your doctor about your symptoms. You may be referred to a rheumatologist or orthopedic, or doctors who specialize in arthritis and related condition. There are many things that can be done to preserve joint function, improve its mobility, and quality of life. Learning about the options available for treatment will make you have higher chance to find the best solution fits you (3,4).
However, apart from learning the best solution for your joint pain, it is also best if you try to reduce your weight if you are obese or overweight. Try to maintain weight since weight has some impact on joint, regardless of where the joint is, by maintaining weight, you will start putting nutritious foods in your body that can reduce inflammation on your joint. The main goals when you have arthritis is to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life (3,4).
- Mayo Clinic. Arthritis. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/arthritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20350772#:~:text=Arthritis%20is%20the%20swelling%20and,are%20osteoarthritis%20and%20rheumatoid%20arthritis. (Accessed on December 4, 2020).
- Arthritis. https://www.healthline.com/health/arthritis (Accessed on December 4, 2020).
- Arthritis Foundation. What is arthritis? https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/about-arthritis/understanding-arthritis/what-is-arthritis (Accessed on December 4, 2020).
- Arthritis. https://www.webmd.com/arthritis/default.htm (Accessed on December 4, 2020).