10 FAQs about Arthritis
Arthritis can be painful. A disease that affects your everyday life and leaves you feeling like a lesser version of yourself. We used to associate this disease with old age but now more and more young people are also falling prey to its clutches. Being a disease with no permanent cure, the answer lies entirely in its management. And to do that effectively, you need knowledgde. These common FAQ’s about arthritis should help you go a long way in understanding the disease and it’s management.
1. What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a disease that affects the joints like knees, wrists, ankles, and hips or tissues around the joint. There are more than 100 types of arthritis.
2. What are the Most Common Types of Arthritis?
Osteoarthritis is common in older people, Image credits: pixabay
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is also called wear-and-tear arthritis. During older age, people develop osteoarthritis at the hips, knees, base of the thumb, and tips of the fingers.
The other arthritis is inflammatory arthritis, which is autoimmune. The main types of inflammatory arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis, spondyloarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and fibromyalgia. In these diseases, our immune system attacks the body’s joints.
Gout comes under crystalline arthritis, which mainly affects the big toe.
3. Who Are Most Affected?
Arthritis affects people of all ages, sex and races. Women are at higher risk for inflammatory arthritis, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. On the contrary, gout is common in males.
4. What are the Symptoms of Arthritis?
Joint Swelling, Image credits: pixabay
The symptoms may vary according to arthritis type. In one or more joints, most kinds of arthritis can induce rigidity, redness, and swelling. There can be a sudden onset in the symptoms or it can develop gradually over time.
Most people with arthritis find difficulties in climbing the stairs and opening a box. If the arthritis is left undiagnosed, it can lead to joint destruction and disability.
5. What are the Causes of Arthritis?
Multiple factors are contributing to arthritis-like genes, environmental triggers, and infections.
Smoking is an environmental trigger for rheumatoid arthritis. Infections can cause arthritis. Gout is caused by the deposition of uric acid in the joints.
6. What is the Prevalence of Arthritis in India?
It is estimated that 54.4 million US adults have arthritis. The prevalence of osteoarthritis in India is 22 to 39%. Nearly 45% of women over the age of 65 have symptoms of osteoarthritis.
The prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis in India is 0.92%.
7. Can Children get Arthritis?
Yes, Children get arthritis. They develop arthritis called Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA), also called childhood rheumatoid arthritis or juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. The symptoms are similar to adult arthritis like joint pain, swelling, fever, and inflammation.
Children find difficulties with their day to day activities like playing, dressing, walking, and running. Early diagnosis helps in preventing disability.
8. How is Arthritis Diagnosed?
X-rays help identify the extent of joint damage, Image credits: pixabay
Doctors diagnose arthritis based on a physical examination, X rays, and blood tests. As there are many different types of arthritis, diagnosing the right form of arthritis becomes highly important in managing the symptoms.
Blood tests include measuring the inflammatory marker like Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C – reactive protein (CRP). If your doctor suspects you have a possibility of developing rheumatoid arthritis, he may test the levels of autoantibodies in your blood.
X-rays help to identify the changes in the joints.
Physiotherapy can provide symptomatic relief, Image credits: pixabay
9. How is Arthritis Treated?
The main objective of the treatment is to control the symptoms, prevent joint damage, and improve the quality of life of patients.
For osteoarthritis, over the counter medications, prescription medicines and cortisone injections are available. Corticosteroids are prescribed to control pain and swelling.
If there is immune system dysregulation, such as in Rheumatoid arthritis, immune modulators, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are prescribed.
Physiotherapy helps relieve the symptoms of the diseases. For short term relief from pain and symptoms, heat or cold packs are used over the joints or muscles. Some people feel better when using heat, while others get better with cold packs. You can check which works for you.
In extreme cases, surgery may be required.
10. What are the Preventive Measures?
Though arthritis cannot be prevented, some factors are under your control. You can control your weight, avoid smoking, and prevent the risk of developing any joint injuries. When you are overweight, your joints are under pressure and mobility can be an issue.
If you have joint pains, you can do mild to moderate exercises that do not harm your joints. Instead of walking, water aerobics can be done.
Osteoarthritis is very common and certain preventive measures help manage the disease well.