Arthritis is the swelling or tenderness of your joints. This swelling and tenderness can lead to stiffness and joint pain which can worsen with age. The two most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, but there are over 100 variations of arthritis. People of all ages, genders, and races can have arthritis and it is the leading cause of disability in America with over 50 million people who suffer from these conditions. Symptoms can fluctuate over time with highs and lows, but typically arthritis gets worse with age.
Osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis is the most common form. This condition occurs when the cartilage between your bones wears away, causing your bones to rub together directly. The bones resting and rubbing together so harshly causes joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. This pain can become chronic, resulting in lost joint strength. Osteoarthritis risk factors include family history, age, previous injuries such as ACL tears. To help prevent yourself from getting osteoarthritis it is important to stay active, maintain a healthy weight, and avoid injuries as best as possible. Some treatments for this condition include pain relievers, hot and cold therapies, physical therapy and in extreme cases joint replacement.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an example of inflammatory arthritis. This occurs because the immune system does not properly and attacks joints with uncontrollable inflammation. Eventually, this can lead to destroying cartilage and bone within the joint. Risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis include obesity, family history, age, previous joint injuries, and gender. Especially with inflammatory and immune system arthritis, early detection is crucial. Early detection can help prevent permanent bone and joint damage and can help relieve pain earlier on.
With any type of arthritis, it is important to speak with a professional to determine an action plan for your personal situation. They will be able to help you understand your condition, monitor changes, and aid in relieving any discomfort. Other treatment techniques are habits and lifestyle changes that you can make to aid in relieving pain and managing your arthritis. It is important to maintain a healthy weight to help mitigate discomfort as extra weight only adds extra strain on your joints. This can be done through exercise, which additionally helps keep your joints flexible and strengthens your surrounding muscles. Additionally, managing your weight can be achieved through a healthy diet, which can also help with boosting your immune system and overall health. Other treatment techniques that are often suggested include hot and cold therapy, acupuncture, meditation, herbal supplements, and massages.
If you have any risk factors for arthritis or are concerned you could be developing a form of arthritis it is important to speak with your physician. Voice your concerns and inform them about your potential risk factors. Early detection is key to prevent further damage and to help mitigate negative symptoms.
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