Arthritis Insights: Navigating Joint Health and Living Well

Arthritis is not one disease alone, but an umbrella term for more than 100 conditions that affect the joints of the body. Women are at a higher risk for arthritis than men.

Harleen Kaur
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Arthritis Insights Navigating Joint Health and Living Well

Arthritis Insights Navigating Joint Health and Living Well.

Arthritis is not one disease alone, but an umbrella term for more than 100 conditions that affect the joints of the body. Arthritis is the inflammation and stiffness of one or more joints in the body. which further causes pain, swelling, and limited mobility.

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Types of Arthritis

There are several types of arthritis, but the two most common forms are:

Osteoarthritis (OA):

Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent form of arthritis. It occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones wears down over time, leading to joint pain and stiffness. The exact cause of osteoarthritis is unknown, but factors that may contribute to its development include age, genetics, joint injury or trauma, obesity, and repetitive joint use.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA):

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease where the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of the joints, causing inflammation and joint damage. The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is also unknown, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Rheumatoid arthritis is more common in women.

Other types of arthritis include psoriatic arthritis, gout, ankylosing spondylitis, and reactive arthritis, among others. Each type has its own specific causes and characteristics.

What are the Symptoms of Arthritis?

Recognizing the symptoms of arthritis

The symptoms of arthritis vary from person to person But all symptoms will be related to joints:-

  • Pain in joints.
  • Swelling in a joint
  • Redness and warmth in a joint
  • Stiffness or reduced movement of a joint
  • Tiredness and feeling unwell
  • Swollen fingers and toes, foot pain, eye inflammation.
  • Balance impairment.

What causes Arthritis?

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The causes of many types of arthritis are not fully known. Most forms of arthritis are thought to be caused by a fault in the immune system that causes the body to attack its own tissues in the joints. This may be inherited genetically.

Some other causes are:-

  •  Problems with the immune system or by a metabolic condition, such as gout.
  • Age factor majorly occurs in later years and heredity of course.
  • Environmental factors that may contribute to the development of osteoarthritis include:
      1. Obesity, Excess weight puts added stress on the joints, increasing the risk of developing arthritis.
      2. Excessive Smoking or substance use
      3. Activities that involve repetitive movements of a particular joint
      4. Injuries or trauma to the joints can contribute to the development of arthritis later in life.

How is Arthritis Diagnosed?

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Here are some common diagnostic methods used for arthritis:

Physical Examination: A healthcare professional will examine your joints, looking for signs of inflammation, swelling, redness, and limited range of motion. They may also assess your overall physical condition and look for any other symptoms related to arthritis.

Medical History: Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms, when they started, their severity, and any factors that may trigger or worsen the symptoms. They will also inquire about your medical history, family history of arthritis, and any previous injuries or conditions that may be relevant.

Imaging Tests: X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and ultrasound may be used to visualize the joints and assess any joint damage, cartilage loss, bone changes, or inflammation. These tests can help confirm the diagnosis and determine the extent of joint involvement.

Blood Tests: Blood tests can help detect certain markers that indicate the presence of arthritis or autoimmune conditions associated with arthritis. For example, rheumatoid factor (RF) and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) antibodies are commonly tested for rheumatoid arthritis. Other blood tests, such as erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP), can measure levels of inflammation in the bod

It's important to consult with a healthcare professional if you suspect you may have arthritis. They will be able to provide an accurate diagnosis based on a thorough evaluation and appropriate tests.

How is arthritis treated?

It's important to note that while the causes of arthritis are not fully understood, there is no tested cure for it but for many types of arthritis, there are treatments available that can help control symptoms and prevent further damage to the joints.

The treatment recommended By doctors:

  • medicines, such as painkillers, anti-inflammatory medicines or medicines to slow down the disease (called disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, or DMARDs, used for inflammatory forms of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and juvenile idiopathic arthritis)
  • Pain management techniques, such as meditation
  • In severe cases, surgery may be needed to replace or repair damaged joints.

But the good news is by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and weight management, can help reduce the risk and manage the symptoms of arthritis. If you are experiencing joint pain or suspect you may have arthritis, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.

Women are at a significantly higher risk for arthritis than men, especially when it comes to the most common types: rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis. Ladies don't ignore any symptoms or persistent joint pain in your knees, ankles, hands, and wrists. You are very precious to your family, get yourself evaluated and consult a professional healthcare provider.



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