The average layperson has a basic understanding of what arthritis is, i.e., that it is associated with painful and inflamed joints. Interestingly, not even doctors know everything about arthritis. Here are seven of the lesser-known facts about this condition.
Types of Arthritis
Some people have heard of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, which are the most common forms of this disease. But that is only two out of over one hundred types of arthritis that have been identified and categorised. Some better-known forms are Lyme disease, gout, and ankylosing spondylitis.
The number of people affected by arthritis in one form or another in the United Kingdom exceeds 10 million sufferers. No age is excluded, as even children can have it. One out of every 250 children in the world has arthritis. In the UK, there are 15,000 child sufferers of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Most of them will outgrow the disease before adulthood but some go on to develop rheumatoid arthritis. However, more females than males get arthritis.
Autoimmune diseases occur when the body’s immune system attacks its healthy tissues and organs. Two autoimmune diseases that affect the joints are systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Lupus targets connective tissue throughout the body, causing numerous symptoms and damage. In RA, it is mainly the joints that are compromised.
It can be difficult to manage arthritic pain. When this is combined with stiffness of the joints it becomes difficult for patients to exercise, leading to depression and other conditions. Arthritis is thus often linked to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
Arthritis is the number one reason for work disability. With almost 26 million adults who are unable to carry out normal activities, this has a serious impact on their quality of life. Researchers estimate that this number will reach 35 million sufferers in another two decades.
There Is No Cure
Once you develop arthritis, it is there to stay. There is no cure. A doctor can prescribe painkillers and recommend dietary and lifestyle changes to help you manage the disease. If you have an autoimmune form of arthritis, you may be given an immunosuppressant to diminish the immune response. However, this is not without risks. Osteoarthritis may be treated with surgery.
There are two types of symptoms that occur due to arthritis. The first group of symptoms relates directly to the joints. These are reduced movement, stiffness, warmth or redness, swelling, and pain. Other symptoms often found with arthritis are malaise, weight gain or loss, fatigue, and depression.
Treatments attempt to reduce symptoms and improve joint mobility. Some types of medications that may be prescribed are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs. Physiotherapy may increase the range of movement that is possible. Surgery focuses on joint repair, replacement, and fusion.
Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis can be treated with hyaluronic acid injections into the knee or other joints that are affected. This is known as Injection Therapy. See physiohelp4you.com for more information on arthritis injections.
If you suffer from one or other form of arthritis, you are not alone. There are treatments that can bring about some improvement, though this is often through trial and error.
'This is a collaborative post and the author's views do not necessarily reflect those of our blog. We may receive monetary compensation for our endorsement and or recommendations'.
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