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What is Arthritis?
Arthritis isn’t a singular disease; instead, it encompasses more than 100 various types of joint disorders. Each type of arthritis has its causes, symptoms, and treatments. Some of the most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.
Arthritis can have a significant impact on your quality of life, so it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Fortunately, there are many treatment options available for arthritis, ranging from medications to surgery. However, not all treatments are suitable for everyone, and some may have side effects or complications. That’s why you need to find the best arthritis treatment for your condition, based on your needs and preferences.
Types of Arthritis and Their Causes
Arthritis is a general term that refers to inflammation of the joints. There are many types of arthritis, each with its own causes and characteristics. Here are some of the most common types of arthritis and their causes:
Affecting approximately 27 million Americans, osteoarthritis stands as the most prevalent form of arthritis. This condition arises when the protective cartilage at the ends of bones erodes, leading to friction between the bones themselves. This leads to pain, stiffness, swelling, and reduced range of motion in the affected joints. Osteoarthritis can affect any joint, but it’s most common in the weight-bearing joints, such as the knees, hips, and spine.
The main cause of osteoarthritis is aging, as the cartilage naturally deteriorates over time. However, other factors can also contribute to osteoarthritis, such as:
- Genetics: Some people inherit genes that make them more prone to developing osteoarthritis.
- Obesity: Excess weight puts more pressure on the joints, especially the knees and hips, and accelerates the wear and tear of the cartilage.
- Injury: Trauma or damage to the joints, such as from sports, accidents, or surgery, can increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis later in life.
- Occupation: Jobs that involve repetitive or heavy lifting, bending, or kneeling can stress the joints and cause osteoarthritis.
- Other diseases: Some diseases, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or gout, can affect the joints and cause osteoarthritis.
Prevention of Osteoarthritis
You can prevent or delay the onset of osteoarthritis by taking care of your joints. Some of the prevention strategies include:
- Maintaining a healthy weight: Losing excess weight can reduce the stress on your joints and prevent further damage to the cartilage.
- Exercising regularly: Physical activity can strengthen the muscles that support the joints, improve the flexibility and mobility of the joints, and reduce the pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis. However, you should avoid high-impact exercises, such as running or jumping, that can worsen the condition of your joints. Instead, opt for low-impact exercises, such as walking, swimming, or cycling.
- Eating a balanced diet: A nutritious diet can provide the essential nutrients for your joints, such as calcium, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients can help maintain the health of your bones, cartilage, and synovial fluid, which lubricates the joints. You should also avoid foods that can trigger inflammation, such as sugar, refined carbs, saturated fats, and processed meats.
- Protecting your joints: You should avoid activities that can injure or strain your joints, such as lifting heavy objects, twisting, or kneeling. You should also use assistive devices, such as braces, splints, or canes, to support your joints and reduce the pressure on them. You should also wear comfortable shoes that fit well and provide cushioning and stability for your feet.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic and progressive type of arthritis that affects about 1.5 million Americans. It happens when the immune system erroneously targets the synovium, a thin membrane lining the joints.
This causes inflammation, pain, swelling, and stiffness in the affected joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect any joint, but it’s most common in the hands, wrists, and feet. Rheumatoid arthritis can also affect other parts of the body, such as the eyes, skin, lungs, heart, and blood vessels.
The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, but it’s believed to be influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some of the risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis include:
Gender: Women are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than men, especially between the ages of 30 and 60.
Family history: Having a close relative with rheumatoid arthritis increases your chances of developing the condition.
Smoking: Smoking cigarettes can trigger or worsen the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, as well as increase the risk of complications.
Infections: Some viral or bacterial infections, such as Epstein-Barr virus or periodontitis, can trigger or aggravate the immune system and cause rheumatoid arthritis.
Hormones: Hormonal changes, such as pregnancy, menopause, or oral contraceptives, can affect the immune system and the joints and cause rheumatoid arthritis.
Prevention of Rheumatoid arthritis
You can prevent or reduce the severity of rheumatoid arthritis by taking care of your immune system and your joints. Some of the prevention strategies include:
Quitting smoking: Smoking can damage your lungs, your heart, and your joints, as well as increase the inflammation and pain of rheumatoid arthritis. Cessation of smoking can enhance your overall well-being and diminish the likelihood of complications.
Exercising regularly: Physical activity can boost your immune system, improve your mood, and reduce the stiffness and pain of rheumatoid arthritis. However, you should avoid high-intensity or high-impact exercises, such as running or jumping, that can damage your joints. Instead, opt for low-intensity or low-impact exercises, such as walking, swimming, or yoga.
Eating a balanced diet: A nutritious diet can provide essential nutrients for your immune system and your joints, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients can help fight inflammation, protect the cartilage, and lubricate the joints. You should also avoid foods that can trigger inflammation, such as sugar, refined carbs, saturated fats, and processed meats.
Managing stress: Stress can weaken your immune system, worsen your mood, and increase the inflammation and pain of rheumatoid arthritis. Managing stress can improve your mental and physical health and reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. You can try various stress-relieving techniques, such as meditation, breathing exercises, relaxation, hobbies, or counseling.
Other Types of Arthritis
Besides osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, many other types of arthritis can affect your joints. Some of the other types of arthritis include:
Gout: Gout is a type of arthritis that occurs when uric acid crystals build up in the joints, causing sudden and severe attacks of pain, swelling, and redness. Gout usually affects the big toe, but it can also affect other joints, such as the ankle, knee, or elbow. Gout is caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood, which can result from eating too much purine-rich foods, such as meat, seafood, or alcohol, or from having certain medical conditions, such as kidney disease, diabetes, or obesity.
Psoriatic arthritis: Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that affects some people who have psoriasis, a skin condition that causes red, scaly patches on the skin. Psoriatic arthritis causes inflammation, pain, and stiffness in the joints, as well as skin and nail changes. Psoriatic arthritis can affect any joint, but it’s most common in the fingers, toes, spine, and pelvis. Psoriatic arthritis is caused by an overactive immune system that attacks the skin and the joints.
Ankylosing spondylitis: Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that affects the spine, causing inflammation, pain, and stiffness in the vertebrae. Ankylosing spondylitis can also affect other joints, such as the hips, shoulders, ribs, or heels, as well as other organs, such as the eyes, heart, or lungs. Ankylosing spondylitis can cause the spine to fuse over time, resulting in a hunched posture and reduced mobility. Ankylosing spondylitis is caused by a genetic factor that makes the immune system attack the spine and the joints.
Each type of arthritis has its own symptoms, treatments, and complications. Therefore, it’s important to consult your doctor if you suspect you have arthritis, so that you can get a proper diagnosis and a suitable treatment plan.
Arthritis Treatment Options in Clifton, NJ
There is no cure for arthritis, but there are many treatment options that can help you manage your condition and improve your quality of life. The treatment options for arthritis depend on the type, severity, and location of your arthritis, as well as your personal preferences and goals. Some of the treatment options for arthritis include:
Medications are often the first line of treatment for arthritis, as they can help reduce the pain, inflammation, and progression of the disease. Different types of medications can be used for arthritis, such as:
Pain relievers: These are medications that can help ease the pain and discomfort of arthritis, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin. However, these medications do not affect the inflammation or the underlying cause of arthritis, and they may have side effects, such as stomach ulcers, liver damage, or bleeding problems, especially if taken for a long time or in high doses.
Anti-inflammatories: These are medications that can help reduce the inflammation and swelling of arthritis, such as corticosteroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or selective COX-2 inhibitors. These medications can also help relieve the pain and stiffness of arthritis, but they may have side effects, such as weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney damage, or heart problems, especially if taken for a long time or in high doses.
Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs): These are medications that can help slow down the progression and damage of rheumatoid arthritis and other types of inflammatory arthritis, such as methotrexate, sulfasalazine, leflunomide, or hydroxychloroquine. These medications can also help reduce the
symptoms and complications of arthritis, but they may have side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, liver damage, or infections, especially if taken for a long time or in high doses.
Biologics: These are medications that can help target specific parts of the immune system that are involved in causing inflammation and joint damage in rheumatoid arthritis and other types of inflammatory arthritis, such as etanercept, infliximab, adalimumab, or tocilizumab. These medications can also help reduce the symptoms and complications of arthritis, but they may have side effects, such as allergic reactions, infections, or cancer, especially if taken for a long time or in high doses.
The medications that are prescribed for arthritis vary depending on the type and severity of your condition, as well as your medical history and other factors. You should always consult your doctor before taking any medications for arthritis, and follow their instructions carefully. You should also inform your doctor of any side effects or changes in your condition, and never stop or change your medications without their approval.
Arthritis treatment in Clifton, NJ offers a range of effective solutions for managing and alleviating the symptoms of this debilitating condition. From medication management to injections, patients have access to comprehensive care that addresses their unique needs and goals. The dedicated team of healthcare professionals at our facility is committed to providing personalized, compassionate care that empowers individuals to live their best lives despite the challenges of arthritis. If you or a loved one are struggling with arthritis, do not hesitate to reach out for support and guidance – call us at (973)-798-1787 to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards improved quality of life.