Identifying Medical Conditions: Arthritis

Identifying Medical Conditions: Arthritisa

The term arthritis literally means “joint inflammation”. It is generally used to refer to more than 100 different conditions which affect the joints and may also affect the muscles and other tissues.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis is degenerative arthritis, or osteoarthritis, which happens due to the breakdown of the tissue inside the joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. This is when your immune system, which usually fights infection, attacks the cells that line your joints, making them swollen, stiff and painful.

Incidences of arthritis increase with age due to simple “wear and tear” on the joints – the older you are, the more you have used your joints. However, it is not an inevitable part of aging, because not everyone gets it.

Roughly half of the ageing population aged 65 and over have problems with arthritis. If they complain about joint pain and stiffness in any part of the body, it could be arthritis.  Many cases are mild and people cope with it. Some forms (there are many types) cause changes you can see – swelling, warmth, and redness in joints. Sometimes the pain and swelling only last a short time but can be very bad. Chronic pain caused by arthritis can lead to depression and sleep disturbance.

Symptoms vary depending on the type that has developed and may include:

  • Lasting joint pain
  • Pain or swelling in one or more joints
  • Warmth and redness in a joint
  • Pain and stiffness after activity such as gardening or housework
  • Weakness and muscle wasting
  • Restricted joint movement

 

What to do

There is no cure for arthritis but there are many treatments to slow down the condition, relieve the pain, and help the person live with it. The first step is to see a GP to get a diagnosis. The doctor will then recommend – depending on the type and severity of the condition – the best approach to managing it.  There are a range of options which can include:

  • Painkillers and other medications
  • Physiotherapy
  • Regular exercise
  • Surgical procedures such as joint replacement or joint fusion in severe cases

 

Exercise

Keep a good balance of adequate rest with sensible exercise (such as walking, cycling and swimming), but stop any exercise, or activity that increases the pain.

Heat

Arthritis responds better to warm conditions. A hot-water bottle, warm bath or electric blanket or microwave heated wrap can soothe the pain and stiffness.

Avoid getting too cold.

Physiotherapy

This can be helpful in improving muscle tone, reducing stiffness and maintaining mobility

Walking aids.Shoe inserts, good footwear and a walking stick can help painful knees, hips and feet.

 

Medication.

    • Aspirin, Ibuprofen and Paracetamol are effective pain-killers.
    • The doctor may prescribe special anti-arthritic medication, such as anti- inflammatory drugs.

Special equipment to help elderly arthritis

It is possible to increase your ageing parent’s independence at home. There is a wide range of inexpensive equipment and tools that can help with cooking, cleaning and other household chores. These can be discussed with the doctor, physiotherapist, or occupational therapist.

Surgery

Modern surgery can give excellent results with relief of severe pan for most joint.

The new techniques and artificial joints are improving all the time and so there is no need to suffer with severe pain.

 

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