Prepare Mag: August 2018 - page 11

Types of Arthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis,
especially in older individuals. It can affect just about any
joint in the body. Hands, feet, back, hip, and knees are most
commonly affected, but osteoarthritis can occur even in the
spinal column.
Osteoarthritis is acquired by daily wear and tear on the
joints, although it can also be a long term effect of a previous
injury which accelerates degeneration. Obesity can increase
stress on joints and lead to osteoarthritis, as well.
Warm compresses are useful to treat discomfort and
stiffness. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
like ibuprofen or aspirin are helpful, as is Capsaicin cream or
The worst cases may require oral or injectable
steroids. Sometimes, a needle is placed to drain excess fluid
from an affected joint to give relief. This is call
“arthrocentesis”. This procedure may decrease pain, but
could introduce infection into the joint if not performed with
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common auto-immune
disease in the world today. In RA, the body's immune system
attacks its own tissues. The attack is not only directed at the
joint but to other parts of the body. Unlike some other joint
diseases, rheumatoid arthritis tends to affect the same joint
on both sides of the body. Women seem to be more
susceptible than men.
Rheumatoid arthritis especially affects joints in the fingers
and wrists, but is also common in knees and elbows. Over
time, it can lead to severe deformities if not treated.
Rheumatoid arthritis occurs in younger populations, more
than osteoarthritis, even striking children on occasion.
Other symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis that
you might not see with degenerative osteoarthritis:
•Dry mouth
•Dryness, Itching or burning in the eyes
•Strange sensations in the hands or feet
•Nodules under the skin
•Chest pain when taking a breath
At present, there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis.
Treatments concentrate on easing the symptoms. Medical
therapy includes strong anti-inflammatory medications such
as oral steroids (example: Prednisone).
Another auto-immune disorder that can cause joint disease is
known as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). Although
usually diagnosed by blood testing, Lupus can be
differentiated from rheumatoid arthritis due to its one-sided
nature. You will also see patients with SLE experience hair
loss and body rashes. Lupus is often treated with long-term
oral steroids.
Even though rheumatoid arthritis cannot be cured, it is
thought to be possible to prevent the condition from
worsening. Weight loss is one way to improve symptoms and
prevent progression. Physical therapy to strengthen muscles
and joints is also thought to be helpful.
Bacterial Arthritis
Bacterial arthritis (sometimes called “septic” arthritis) is
often the result of some penetrating injury that allows
organisms to invade the joint space. It can also occur from
within, as when a blood infection (septicemia) or bone
infection (osteomyelitis) has spread to a joint.
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