Arthritis: types, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment
- 1 What is arthritis?
- 2 Causes and risk factors for arthritis
- 3 Symptoms of Arthritis
- 4 Diagnosis of arthritis
- 5 Treatment of arthritis
Inflammation of one or more joints is an arthritis. Today, more than a hundred different arthritis are known. Before we stop on the most common, let’s talk in more detail about what the arthritis is in principle, its causes, diagnosis, treatment and prevention.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is the collective name of any inflammatory joint disease. Arthritis can affect joints in any part of the body, where two different bones are connected. Regardless of the causes of arthritis, the metabolism in the joints is broken and the intraarticular cartilage is thinned. This is followed by its inflammation, i.e. there is swelling, paralysis or destabilization of the smoothness of motion, and later deformation of the joint occurs. All arthritis is divided into two types: monoarthritis, when only one joint was affected, and polyarthritis, when there are many such joints. In addition, joint disease is acute and chronic. A sharp man twists in a few weeks, or even days. Chronic manifestation is not so dramatic and can drag on for years, reminding yourself only from time to time.
Causes and risk factors for arthritis
Autoimmune diseases Inflammation of joints can be the result of:
- Autoimmune diseases
- Consequences of injuries and fractures
- Wear of joints
- Infections, bacteria or viruses
Risk factors can be several. Perhaps there is a disease of the nervous system. There may even be a malfunction in the immune system or a metabolic disorder. Very often, the trigger for arthritis is trauma, hypothermia, infection or lack of vitamins. If to speak about the most frequent reasons, it is necessary to mean the infection causing inflammatory process in joints.
When a harmful bacterium, virus or fungus penetrates into the human body, the body tries to get rid of them independently. For this, a person has a special weapon – immunity. Here is our immune system and begins to prepare an arsenal: it produces special substances or immune complexes that come into conflict with “alien” foreign particles. But it is worth the immune system to weaken or get a defect, its own “troops” multiply very quickly and begin to destroy everything without understanding where their enemy is and where. This ability to destroy does not pass even when the infection has already left the body, and the protective substances of the body do not want to recognize that the war is over and attack the joints. This is a classic scheme of arthritis.
Symptoms of Arthritis
Arthritis of the hip joint
All the same, arthritis is correctly called “evil disease”: one morning, waking up, a person notices that fingers are like strangers, he does not feel them. It seems that I laid my hand in my sleep. But time goes by, and the feeling of “someone else’s hand” remains. And do not get small movements. What do we do then? We begin to develop a hand. And we succeed. In the afternoon, we do not notice anything at all. A few days pass and … And in the morning the same picture. Only to restore the function of the hand takes no longer half an hour, but more. Happens, only after three hours fingers obey us. The growth of “disobedience”, “alienation” is progressing for a long time. Even later, we begin to feel pain in the joints of the fingers and toes. And then we have to admit that visually our fingers have changed – they have become knotty, their joints have increased. Here, many are sounding the alarm: go to the doctor.
The main symptoms of arthritis can include:
- Joint pain
- Edema in the joint area
- Swelling of the joints
- Stiffness and restriction of movements in the joint
- Redness of the skin around the joint
- Numbness of the joints, especially in the mornings
- Local temperature increase
Diagnosis of arthritis
The visit will begin with an examination: the doctor should see what condition your joints are in. He will determine the presence of fluid around them. Will pay attention to a skin: whether there is a reddening, whether the raised temperature around a joint is felt. You will have to “demonstrate dexterity” and the ability to move. Then there will come a turn of the analysis of a blood.
An x-ray will be prescribed – this will help to check if there is an infection or some other cause of arthritis. In some cases, you need to use a syringe to take a sample of accumulated bluish fluid to conduct a laboratory examination. When all these readings are for the doctor, then he will prescribe the treatment.
Treatment of arthritis
Change in lifestyle
The most important thing that awaits the patient from the treatment is getting rid of the pain. He hopes to restore the functions of his limbs. No less strongly the patient wants to forget about arthritis once and for all, so that he will not return from now on. At the same time, for some twenty-fifth plan, he refers to his participation in the treatment. And here the patient makes a mistake: changing the way of life towards healthy means not nearly less than strong medicines. And the first in the set of “healthy lifestyle” is the occupation of physical education. It’s worth thinking about all this. No material costs morning exercise, evening walk and water procedures do not carry. But the fact that they protect and help health, does not need proofs. That is why, when starting to treat arthritis, one should listen to the exercises recommended by the doctor. They will help reduce stiffness and pain in the joints, strengthen the muscles and strength of bones.
Nothing that would require you to overstrain, the doctor does not recommend. But exercise for endurance at a sparing level of exposure to aerobic loads, in which the pulse and the level of muscle effort are controlled so that an undesirable set of muscle mass does not occur. These aerobic activities are aimed at improving blood circulation, lifting and strengthening the muscles. They will help burn excess calories and fat. As a rule, these are quick and easy gestures, like combinations of dances and physical exercises. You will have to pay attention to the development of flexibility with the help of an increased range of movements. It will be necessary to include strength training for muscle tone.
From physiotherapy, you will be advised to alternate heat and ice and teach how to do it correctly. Massage works very well.
Normalization of sleep
Those who are accustomed to getting by with a minimum of sleep, need to be reconstructed for a longer and deeper sleep – from 8 to 10 hours a day. With its help, you can mitigate the negative effect of the arthritis outbreak that has already attacked you and warn the next one.
Elaboration of correct postures and movements
It is necessary to control the change of positions and movements: with arthritis one can not remain in one position for long. Learn to dose the load on the aching joints. Even such a seemingly “trifle”, like a handrail in a bath or a shower, will be your helpers in the struggle for health. Stop skeptical of yoga and meditation. Recollect, what brisk and mobile Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, inhabitants of Tibet: here business not in medicines, and in a way of life.
Make an audit of what you eat. Try to “lean” on vegetables and fruits – there are a lot of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin E. Accustom yourself to eat foods that have a lot of omega-3 fatty acids: fish (salmon, herring, mackerel), flax seeds, rapeseed oil, soy , soybean oil, pumpkin seeds and walnuts.
Fighting excess weight
Try to lose weight – you will feel a significant improvement, including ease in the legs and feet.
Anesthetic creams and ointments
You can rub a special cream recommended by a doctor into painful joints. After 3-7 days you will feel that the pain is receding. Of the most well-known ointments can be called Fastum gel, Chondroxide, Ketoprofen, Arthrosilen, Diclofenac.
Now about medications. Without them, arthritis can not be defeated. But also blindly, in large quantities to take medicine is not worth it. First of all, it should be those drugs that you prescribed a doctor. And he appointed them, recommending to be treated in combination with those physical exercises and diet, which were discussed above. So, the first medicine for arthritis is acetaminophen. It should be taken as prescribed. In this case, do not increase the dose and do not combine medicine with alcohol: your liver will not survive such a “tandem”.
The most “democratic” aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen will help today. These are non-steroidal, i.e. anti-inflammatory, drugs belong to the group of drugs that have analgesic, antipyretic and anti-inflammatory effects, reduce pain, fever and inflammation. However, they have many potential risks, especially if used for a long time. Potential side effects include heart attack, stroke, stomach ulcer, bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract and kidneys.
There is also a whole group of drugs that are dispensed exclusively by prescription – enteracept, infliximab, adalimumad, abatacept, rituximab, etc. A person who does not have a special medical education should not remember these names: such drugs must be taken strictly according to the doctor’s prescription: from arthritis, helping to get rid of this disease, the above-mentioned drugs “shoot” on other organs, i.e. have side effects.
The doctor can prescribe corticosteroids (“steroids”) – tetracyclic biologically active compounds produced by the cortical layer of the adrenal glands. Depending on the type of arthritis, medications may vary. But whatever they were, the condition remains unchanged: take the doctor’s prescription. Even if the medication is on sale, ask your doctor if it is right for you or not.