Arthritis: All About its Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

“Arth” comes from the artho- which refers to the joints, and “itis” refers to the inflammation, thus the name Arthritis which means the inflammation of the joints. This is a common disorder that affects the joints yet it is not well understood since many people think that it is a single disease.

There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and its related conditions. With it is its ranking as the leading cause of disability since there are more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children that are diagnosed with some type of arthritis. Not understanding arthritis will not help in fighting against it, thus what will be tackled here will help you understand how arthritis is diagnosed and what options of treatment can you choose from.

What Causes Arthritis?

The responsible for the protection of the joints which absorbs the pressure and shock created when you move and put stress on them is the cartilage. This is a firm yet flexible connective tissue in your joints that when it reaches a reduction far from its normal amount then it will cause some form of arthritis.

The normal wear and tear which cause osteoarthritis are one of the most common forms of arthritis. In this type of arthritis, an infection or injury in the joints might be the reason for the breakdown of the cartilage tissue which risks an individual of developing osteoarthritis.

Another form of arthritis is the RA or rheumatoid arthritis which is an autoimmune disease which means it occurs when your body’s immune system attacks the tissues of the body. This type of arthritis invades and destroys a joint, thus leading to the destruction of both bone and cartilage inside the joint. Its causes are unknown yet scientists have recently discovered that genetic markers increase your risk of developing this type.

Diagnosis of Arthritis

A patient will be diagnosed through physical examination, wherein the doctor will check the patient’s joints for swelling, redness, and warmth. This then will be followed with how well the patient can move its joints. Lastly, depending on the type of arthritis the doctor has suspected, then the doctor may suggest some of the following tests tackled below.

Laboratory Tests

An analysis of different types of body fluids will be lab tested since it can help pinpoint the type of arthritis you may have. The fluids that are commonly analyzed are blood, urine, and joint fluid.

Imaging

X-rays, CT scanners, Magnetic resonance imaging, and ultrasound. These are the imaging that will be used to determine what type of arthritis you have and can detect problems within your joints that is currently causing you your symptoms.  

How Arthritis Can Be Treated

Arthritis can’t be cured but treatments are available in which the main goal is to reduce the amount of pain that you’re experiencing and to prevent additional damage to the joints. Some people find heating pads and ice packs to be soothing while others use mobility assistance devices such as canes or walkers which helps take off the pressure from sore joints. Whatever that may be, different methods are presented so know what works best for you.

Medication

There are a number of different types of medication to treat arthritis and aids you with pain. Here are some of the medications for arthritis:

Analgesics

Effective for pain management, analgesics such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or hydrocodone (Vicodin), are drugs which helps in easing the pain from arthritis although it doesn’t help decrease the inflammation in the joints.

NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)

This type of drugs can help control pain and inflammation. However, the drug salicylates cause thinning of the blood, so it should be used with utmost caution. Drugs that are NSAIDs are ibuprofen (Advil) and salicylates.

Menthol or Capsaicin Capsaicin Creams

This help eases the pain you feel from arthritis by blocking the transmission of pain signal from your joints.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy helps in strengthening the muscles around the affected joints which is a core element in treating arthritis.

Surgery

If conservative measures do not help, then the doctor may recommend surgery to replace your joint with an artificial one, are one of the options. This form is most commonly performed to replace knees and hips. On the other hand, joint fusion might be suggested if your arthritis is most severe in your fingers or wrists.

Takeaway

Arthritis is a common disease which may not be as life-threatening as those vicious diseases like heart diseases. However, it changes your lifestyle and may make you uncomfortable while living. Which is why treatments are made so that your quality of life would not be compromised.

Treatments, such as medications, may be expensive but it increases the quality of life that you have while living with arthritis. Sites like pharmaquotes.com will aid drug knowledge and might help through discounted coupons.