Arthritis is the painful inflammation and stiffness of joints and includes over 100 diseases. The two most common forms of arthritis are rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. It is usually associated with older people but anyone can get it, and 3 out of 5 people who have it are under the age of 65.
It is the main cause of disability in those over the age of 55 in industrialized countries. Without treatment the more severe forms of arthritis can leave people with irreversible damage to joints, bones, organs and skin. 61% cases occur in women and also women suffer more of the symptoms than men do.
Osteoarthritis tends to be from wear and tear on the cartilage within the bones which can lead to problems with joint function. Signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis tend to be joint pain, tenderness, or swelling, or a general decrease in joint function. In the early stages it tends to be non inflammatory and involves only a few joints – the most common being knees, hips, hands and spine.
Rheumatoid arthritis tends to be when the body’s immune system attacks the cells lining the joints, and is more chronic and can be disabling. The signs and symptoms are as for osteoarthritis but Rheumatoid arthritis tends to be more genetic in cause, and tends to affect hands, wrists, ankles and knees.
Other signs of arthritis could be unexplained weight loss, high levels of fatigue and a non specific fever. Also dry eyes and a dry mouth may be signs of having arthritis.
There is currently no cure for arthritis sufferers, but studies have shown that physical exercise of the affected areas can help with long term pain relief. Use of ibuprofen for those suffering from inflammatory arthritis is the first step, where the aim is to slow down the progressive nature of the illness, and for osteoarthritis it is anti-inflammatory drugs along with painkillers are most commonly used. In extreme circumstances surgery may be required.
Sometimes it is found that simply by having a good diet can help with the signs and symptoms, as if you are overweight the strain on the body is higher.
A good exercise routine is one of the best ways to help improve the quality of life. Encouraging the use of joints that are in pain will help keep them as supple as possible. It should also help decrease the possibility from moving from one joint to the other. Exercise should be focused on improving muscle strength and balance, along with endurance and flexibility.
By keeping those joints commonly affected by arthritis, including spine, knees, neck, ankles, fingers, hips and shoulders in good condition it should stop the arthritis from becoming too debilitating.
The best treatment is by a good pain relief program, using both medications and gentle exercise. The risk factors of getting rheumatoid arthritis increase with age, so it is important to follow a healthy diet along with anti-aging products that can reduce inflammation and pain in the joints.
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