Arthritis is inflammation of the joints which can commonly be detected through joint pain and tension. The most common types are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout, however there are many different types of arthritis and related conditions that affect people of all ages, sexes and races. More than 50 million adults have some type of arthritis.
Osteoarthritis, often called wear and tear arthritis, is extremely common as we age. However, proper treatment and care can reduce pain and the onset of symptoms. Symptoms can be managed by:
- balancing activity with rest
- using hot and cold therapies
- regular physical activity
- maintaining a healthy weight
- strengthening the muscles around the joint for added support
- using assistive devices
- taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medicines
- avoiding excessive repetitive movements
If symptoms are severe, causing issues with mobility and affecting quality of life, some of the strategies above may be helpful, but joint replacement may be necessary.
Rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis are examples of inflammatory arthritis, which occurs when the immune system responds against its own healthy cells and tissues. Early diagnosis and aggressive treatment is critical to slowing the disease and can help minimize or even prevent permanent joint damage.
Gout is a type opf metabolic arthritis that can be very painful. Needle-like uric acid crystals form in the joints when the body cannot expel the uric acid quickly enough. Despite the sudden onset and intense pain, gout attacks usually peak and resolve within a week or 10 days and then disappear completely with the first 36 hours typically being the worst. It’s important that once you have an attack, you begin working with your doctor to control uric acid levels to prevent future gout attacks.