ARTHRITIS: The most feared disease because of its nature pain and non-curable according to medical science. A large number of the population around the world is suffering from arthritis. Before starting the treatment its better to understand the Cause, symptoms, Available treatments and various other factors related to Arthritis. On everyday basis Patients are facing unbearable pain, loss of money in searching for treatments and mental problems like Stress tension due to various forms of Arthritis. So its perfectly acceptable for anyone suffering and searching for a cure to invest some time in reading the post.
Arthritis affects the musculoskeletal system, specifically the joints. It is the main cause of disability among people over fifty-five years of age in industrialized countries. The word arthritis comes from the Greek arthron meaning “joint” and the Latin itis meaning “inflammation”. The plural of arthritis is arthritides. Arthritis is not a single disease – it is a term that covers over 100 medical conditions. that collectively affect nearly 46 million adults and 300,000 children in America alone. While the most common form of arthritis – osteoarthritis (OA) – is most prevalent in people over 60, arthritis in its various forms can start as early as infancy. Some forms affect people in their young-adult years as they are beginning careers and families and still others start during the peak career and child-rearing years. Around nine million people in the United Kingdom suffer from arthritis. The term ‘arthritis’ refers to problems with the joints of the body. Not always appreciated that it can affect people of all ages – indeed, there are over 10,000 children under the age of 16 in the UK with arthritis. Arthritis patients are constantly rising in India. The fact that 15% of the Indian population suffers from this crippling disease is alarming and so arthritis deserves immediate attention. In India, the cases of rheumatoid arthritis are little less than in the West but degenerative arthritis which affects the knee is more prevalent in the country with every third person above the age of 70 years suffering from it. For many people with arthritis, however, joint involvement is not the extent of the problem. Many forms of arthritis are classified as systemic, meaning they can affect the whole body. In these diseases, arthritis can cause damage to virtually any bodily organ or system, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, blood vessels and skin. Arthritis-related conditions primarily affect the muscles and the bones. Together, arthritis and related conditions are a major cause of disability in the United States, costing the U.S. economy more than $124 billion per year in medical care and indirect expenses such as lost wages and production – and costing millions of individuals their health, their physical abilities and, in many cases, their independence. And unless something changes, the picture is going to get worse. As the population ages, the number of people with arthritis is growing.
TYPES OF ARTHRITIS:
There are several diseases where joint pain is primary and is considered the main feature. Generally, when a person has “arthritis” it means that they have one of these diseases, which include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Gout and pseudo-gout
- Septic arthritis
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Juvenile idiopathic arthritis
- Still’s disease
Joint pain can also be a symptom of other diseases. In this case, the arthritis is considered to be secondary to the main disease; these include:
- Psoriasis (Psoriatic arthritis)
- Reactive arthritis
- Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
- Lyme disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease (Including Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis)
- Henoch-Schönlein purpura
- Hyperimmunoglobulinemia D with recurrent fever
- TNF receptor-associated periodic syndrome
- Wegener’s granulomatosis (and many other vasculitis syndromes)
- Familial Mediterranean fever
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF ARTHRITIS:
Regardless of the type of arthritis, the common symptoms for all arthritis disorders include varied levels of pain, swelling, joint stiffness, and sometimes a constant ache around the joint(s). Arthritic disorders like lupus and rheumatoid can also affect other organs in the body with a variety of symptoms.
- Inability to use the hand or walk
- Malaise and a feeling of tiredness
- Weight loss
- Poor sleep
- Muscle aches and pains
- Difficulty moving the joint
It is common in advanced arthritis for significant secondary changes to occur. For example, in someone who has limited their physical activity:
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of flexibility
- Decreased aerobic fitness
- These changes can also impact on life and social roles, such as community involvement.
CAUSE OF ARTHRITIS:
In order to better understand what is going on when a person suffers from some form of arthritis, let us look at how a joint works. Basically, a joint is where one bone moves on another bone. Ligaments hold the two bones together. The ligaments are like elastic bands, while they keep the bones in place your muscles relax or contract to make the joint move. Cartilage covers the bone surface to stop the two bones from rubbing directly against each other. The covering of cartilage allows the joint to work smoothly and painlessly. A capsule surrounds the joint. The space within the joint – the joint cavity – has synovial fluid. Synovial fluid nourishes the joint and the cartilage. The synovial fluid is produced by the synovium (synovial membrane) which lines the joint cavity. If you have arthritis something goes wrong with the joint(s). What goes wrong depends on what type of arthritis you have. It could be that the cartilage is wearing away, a lack of fluid, autoimmunity (your body attacking itself), infection, or a combination of many factors.
Does cracking knuckles cause arthritis?
Cracking the knuckles, also known as “popping”, is a kind of joint manipulation that produces a cracking sound. Cracking one’s knuckles is a deliberate action. In fact, humans are able to crack several joints, including the ankles, shoulders, feet, jaws, toes, neck and back vertebrae, elbows, wrists and hips. Two studies showed that chronic knuckle cracking does not appear to increase the risk of hand osteoarthritis, but may reduce the strength of your grip. Dr Donald Unger won the Ig Nobel Prize in Medicine after spending 60 years cracking the knuckles on his left hand but not his right. He reported that neither hand had arthritis, after all, that time or other problems.
EFFECT OF ARTHRITIS ON HUMAN BODY:
Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the USA. More than 20 million individuals with arthritis have severe limitations in function on a daily basis. Absenteeism and frequent visits to the physician are common in individuals who have arthritis. Arthritis makes it very difficult for individuals to be physically active and may become homebound.It is estimated that the total cost of arthritis cases is close to $100 billion of which nearly 50% is from lost earnings. Each year, arthritis results in nearly 1 million hospitalizations and close to 45 million outpatient visits to health care centres.
Arthritis can make it very difficult for an individual to remain physically active, contributing to an increased risk of obesity, high cholesterol or vulnerability to heart disease. Individuals with arthritis are also at increased risk of depression, which may be related to fear of worsening symptoms.
Diagnosis is made by clinical examination from an appropriate health professional and may be supported by other tests such as radiology and blood tests, depending on the type of suspected arthritis. All arthritides potentially feature pain. Pain patterns may differ depending on the arthritides and the location. Rheumatoid arthritis is generally worse in the morning and associated with stiffness; in the early stages, patients often have no symptoms after a morning shower. Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, tends to be worse after exercise. In the aged and children, pain might not be the main presenting feature; the aged patient simply moves less, the infantile patient refuses to use the affected limb.
Elements of the history of the disorder guide diagnosis. Important features are speed and time of onset, the pattern of joint involvement, the symmetry of symptoms, early morning stiffness, tenderness, gelling or locking with inactivity, aggravating and relieving factors, and other systemic symptoms. Physical examination may confirm the diagnosis or may indicate systemic disease. Radiographs are often used to follow progression or help assess severity.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It can affect both the larger and the smaller joints of the body, including the hands, feet, back, hip, and knee. The disease is essentially one acquired from daily wear and tear of the joint; however, osteoarthritis can also occur as a result of the injury. Osteoarthritis begins in the cartilage and eventually causes the two opposing bones to erode into each other. Initially, the condition starts with minor pain during activities, but soon the pain can be continuous and even occur while in a state of rest. The pain can be debilitating and prevent one from doing some activities. Osteoarthritis typically affects the weight-bearing joints, such as the back, spine, and pelvis. Unlike rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis is most commonly a disease of the elderly. More than 30 per cent of women have some degree of osteoarthritis by age 65. Risk factors for osteoarthritis include prior joint trauma, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle.
Osteoarthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis, cannot be cured, but one can prevent the condition from worsening. Physical therapy to strengthen muscles and joints is very helpful. Pain medications are widely required by individuals with osteoarthritis. For some patients, weight loss can reduce the stress on the joints. When the disease is far advanced and the pain is continuous, surgery may be an option. Unlike rheumatoid arthritis, the joint replacement does help many individuals with osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a disorder in which the body’s own immune system starts to attack body tissues. The attack is not only directed at the joint but to many other parts of the body. In rheumatoid arthritis, most damage occurs to the joint lining and cartilage which eventually results in erosion of two opposing bones. Rheumatoid arthritis often affects joints in the fingers, wrists, knees and elbows. The disease is symmetrical (appears on both sides of the body) and can lead to severe deformity in a few years if not treated. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs mostly in people aged 20 and above. In children, the disorder can present with a skin rash, fever, pain, disability, and limitations in daily activities. Often, it is not clear why rheumatoid arthritis occurred. With earlier diagnosis and aggressive treatment, many individuals can lead to a decent quality of life. The drugs to treat rheumatoid arthritis range from corticosteroids to monoclonal antibodies given intravenously. The latest drugs like Remicade can significantly improve quality of life in the short term. In rare cases, surgery may be required to replace joints but there is no cure for the illness.
This is a common collagen vascular disorder that can be present with severe arthritis. Other features of lupus include a skin rash, extreme photosensitivity, hair loss, kidney problems, lung fibrosis and constant joint pain.
Gout is caused by deposition of uric acid crystals in the joint, causing inflammation. There is also an uncommon form of gouty arthritis caused by the formation of rhomboid crystals of calcium pyrophosphate known as pseudogout. In the early stages, gouty arthritis usually occurs in one joint, but with time, it can occur in many joints and be quite crippling. The joints in gout can often become swollen and lose function. Gouty arthritis can become particularly painful and potentially debilitating when gout cannot successfully be treated. When uric acid levels and gout symptoms cannot be controlled with standard gout medicines that decrease the production of uric acid (e.g., allopurinol, febuxostat) or increase uric acid elimination from the body through the kidneys (e.g., probenecid), this can be referred to as refractory chronic gout or RCG.
Infectious arthritis is another severe form of arthritis. It presents with a sudden onset of chills, fever and joint pain. The condition is caused by bacteria elsewhere in the body. Infectious arthritis must be rapidly diagnosed and treated promptly to prevent irreversible joint damage.
Psoriasis can develop into psoriatic arthritis. With psoriatic arthritis, most individuals develop the skin problem first and then arthritis. The typical features are of continuous joint pains, stiffness and swelling. The disease does recur with periods of remission but there is no cure for the disorder. A small percentage develop a severely painful and destructive form of arthritis which destroys the small joints in the hands and can lead to permanent disability and loss of hand function.
There is no cure for either rheumatoid or osteoarthritis. Treatment options vary depending on the type of arthritis and include physical therapy, lifestyle changes (including exercise and weight control), orthopaedic bracing, medications. Joint replacement surgery may be required in eroding forms of arthritis. Medications can help reduce inflammation in the joint which decreases pain. Moreover, by decreasing inflammation, the joint damage may be slowed.
Physical and occupational therapy:
In general, studies have shown that physical exercise of the affected joint can have a noticeable improvement in terms of long-term pain relief. Furthermore, the exercise of the arthritic joint is encouraged to maintain the health of the particular joint and the overall body of the person.
Individuals with arthritis can benefit from both physical and occupational therapy. In arthritis the joints become stiff and the range of movement can be limited. Physical therapy has been shown to significantly improve function, decrease pain, and delay need for surgical intervention in advanced cases. Exercise prescribed by a physical therapist has been shown to be more effective than medications in treating osteoarthritis of the knee. Exercise often focuses on improving muscle strength, endurance and flexibility. In some cases, exercises may be designed to train balance. Occupational therapy can provide assistance with activities as well as equipment.
There are several types of medications that are used in the treatment of arthritis. Treatment typically begins with medications that have the fewest side effects with further medications being added if insufficiently effective. Treatment also depends on the type of arthritis. For example, the first-line treatment for osteoarthritis is acetaminophen (paracetamol) while for inflammatory arthritis it involves non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen.
Recent studies have suggested the use of cannabis for the treatment of arthritis, due to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. A 2008 study published in Arthritis Research & Therapy identified the presence of cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 in the synovial tissue of arthritic patients along with endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) in their synovial fluid, which was not present in samples taken from healthy volunteers. A 2006 study published in Rheumatology found that the marijuana-derived oromucosal spray Sativex significantly improved symptoms of pain on movement, pain at rest, and quality of sleep in 58 patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. In response to these findings, the Arthritis Research Campaign commented to BBC News, “It’s not going to cure the disease, but it will do a lot to alleviate the pain and suffering of people with rheumatoid arthritis. Cannabis is probably less harmful than other available painkillers.
Arthritis is predominantly a disease of the elderly, but children can also be affected by the disease. More than 70% of individuals in North America affected by arthritis are over the age of 65. Arthritis is more common in women than men at all ages and affects all races, ethnic groups and cultures. In the United States, a CDC survey based on data from 2007–2009 showed 22.2% (49.9 million) of adults aged? 18 years had self-reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis, and 9.4% (21.1 million or 42.4% of those with arthritis) had arthritis-attributable activity limitation (AAAL). With an ageing population, this number is expected to increase.
While evidence of primary ankle (kaki) osteoarthritis has been discovered in dinosaurs, the first known traces of human arthritis date back as far as 4500 BC. In early reports, arthritis was frequently referred to as the most common ailment of prehistoric peoples. It was noted in skeletal remains of Native Americans found in Tennessee and parts of what is now Olathe, Kansas. Evidence of arthritis has been found throughout history, from Ötzi, a mummy (circa 3000 BC) found along the border of modern Italy and Austria, to the Egyptian mummies circa 2590 BC
In 1715 William Musgrave published the second edition of his most important medical work De arthritides symptomatica which concerned arthritis and its effects.
Blood tests and X-rays of the affected joints often are performed to make the diagnosis. Screening blood tests are indicated if certain arthritides are suspected. These might include a rheumatoid factor, antinuclear factor (ANF), extractable nuclear antigen, and specific antibodies.
VISIT THE BELOW GIVEN LINKS TO LEARN MORE ABOUT ARTHRITIS:
Arthritis Care (charity in the UK)
Arthritis Foundation (US not-for-profit)
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