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Arthritis

Arthritis is an inflammatory disease that affects the joints. There are different types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Gout is also considered a form of arthritis because of how it affects the joints in the extremities. While rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, osteoarthritis often is considered a part of the aging process and deterioration of bone tissue.

 

Causes

As an autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis is the result of the body attacking its own tissues. The immune system attacks healthy tissues in the joints, causing the connective tissue to be damaged. With osteoarthritis, the bone loss that starts to occur with age can lead to the deterioration of the joints.

 

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of arthritis are:

  • Stiffness in the joints
  • Pain
  • Inflammation in or near the joints
  • Redness (and sometimes warmth)
  • Reduce range of motion and flexibility

An individual’s symptoms may vary in intensity. Some people will have all of the symptoms, while others may only have the pain and inflammation. The severity of the symptoms will depend on your level of activity and overall health.

 

Arthritis Treatment Options

While arthritis can’t be “cured”, it can be successfully treated so that the individual lives as comfortably as possible. Over the counter remedies in the form of pain/inflammation reducers and creams do provide relief for mild pain and inflammation. Physical therapy and massage may also help to keep the muscles that support the joints strong and healthy. In severe cases, joint repair or replacement surgeries may need to be considered.

It is estimated that close to 40 million Americans deal with some form of arthritis on a daily basis. Treatment options are available and can dramatically improve a patient’s quality of life if they follow their doctor’s orders.


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