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What is Arthritis?

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What is arthritis?

The word “arthritis” is derived from two Greek words: “arthron”, meaning a joint, and “itis”, meaning inflammation.

what is ArthritisInflammation typically involves redness, heat, swelling and tenderness. So, technically speaking, arthritis describes a joint that is red, hot, swollen and tender.

What is Arthritis? Arthritis is a name for a group of conditions affecting the joints. Arthritis is a condition in which joints are painful and stiff. These conditions cause damage to the joints, usually resulting in pain and stiffness. Arthritis can affect many different parts of the joint and nearly every joint in the body. If the joints are actually red, hot, swollen, and tender, this is often described as inflammatory arthritis.

A related term, used less often by doctors now, is rheumatism. This non-specific term refers to any persistent condition of pain and stiffness related to joints, tendons, ligaments, or bursas (which are small ‘cushions’ that lie under a tendon to protect it from injury).

Arthritis and rheumatism are common and their frequency increases with age. A Canadian survey in 2000 and 2001 found that less than 5% of those aged 25 to 34 said that a doctor had told them they had arthritis or rheumatism. Among those aged 65 to 74, almost 40% had been give n this diagnosis.

Arthritis is not a single disease with a single cause. There are dozens of different types of arthritis, each with its own cause. For instance, bacteria can sometimes cause a severe acute infection called infectious arthritis. Men with hemophilia can have bleeding inside their joints, which over the years can cause a severe arthritis. One particularly severe and sudden type of arthritis, called gout, is caused by crystals of a chemical called uric acid being deposited inside a joint (typically at the base of the big toe).

Rheumatoid arthritis is a specific form of inflammatory arthritis that is caused by your own immune system, which starts (for no known reason) to attack the membrane lining your joints. Because rheumatoid arthritis is caused by your body attacking itself, it is referred to as an autoimmune disease. The most common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis , is caused by wear and tear on the joints. Because of this, some doctors refer to osteoarthritis as degenerative joint disease. Other forms of inflammatory arthritis include ankylosing spondylitis, which affects the spine, and psoriatic arthritis, which tends to develop mainly in people already suffering from a skin condition called psoriasis.

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Are there different types of Arthritis?

There are over 100 forms of arthritis. Each type of arthritis affects you and your joints in different ways. Some forms of arthritis can also involve other parts of the body, such as the eyes.

The most common forms of arthritis are:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Gout
  • Ankylosing spondylitis.

 

Who can be affected by Arthritis?

Although arthritis is more common among adults aged 65 years or older, people of all ages (including children) can be affected. Nearly two-thirds of people with arthritis are younger than age 65. Arthritis is more common among women (24.4%) than men (18.1%) in every age group, and it affects members of all racial and ethnic groups.

 

 What is Arthritis ? …..Read More

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Arthritis Diet

The most important relationship between arthritis diet and arthritis is weight. Excess weight is harmful to joint health and may increase pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints. If you are obese or overweight, try and lose the excess weight. To help lose surplus weight combine healthy eating with regular exercise.

Arthritis Diet- Eat more oily fish

Arthritis Diet-Omega 3Fish such as sardines, mackerel, herring, fresh tuna, salmon, swordfish, marlin and snapper have a darker flesh which is rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fats. In addition to their heart health benefits, fish oils have been shown to help dampen general inflammation and may help to reduce joint pain and stiffness.

Arthritis Diet- Eat Iron Rich Foods

Tiredness is a very common symptom of rheumatoid arthritis and can be made worse by anaemia (a deficiency of red blood cells to transport oxygen around the body). Anaemia can occur as a result of inflammation or because of the long-term use of non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs, which can lead to internal bleeding and stomach ulcers in some people.

To try to help tackle this, eat iron rich foods regularly: lean red meat, eggs, green leafy vegetables, pulses (peas, beans and lentils), and fortified breakfast cereals. Iron is more easily absorbed by the body if you have it at the same time as vitamin C, so have a portion of fruits or vegetables with your meal.

Arthritis Diet- Eat Calcium Rich Foods 

Arthritis Diet-Calcium rich foodIt is important that everyone gets enough calcium in their arthritis diet to ensure that their bones stay strong and healthy. This is an even greater consideration when you have rheumatoid arthritis, as you have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis, so ensuring an adequate calcium intake is important. Good sources of calcium include milk, yogurt cheese and other dairy foods, green leafy vegetables, soya drinks with added calcium, almonds and fish where you eat the bones, such as sardines and pilchards. Don’t forget that lower fat varieties of milk i.e. skimmed or semi skimmed have the same amount of calcium, if not more than whole milk, so try to use lower fat versions wherever possible to cut down on your saturated fat intake and the extra calories.

Calcium also needs vitamin D to aid its absorption. Most of us get all the vitamin D that we need from sunlight on our skin. However, vitamin D can also be found in oily fish, eggs and fortified breakfast cereals and margarine.

Arthritis Diet- Exclusion Diets and Food Intolerance

Fasting is an extreme and temporary way of controlling pain and inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis and is not recommended. A vegetarian diet may help relieve symptoms for some, but care is needed to ensure it is nutritionally sound. Offending foods can be identified through a dietary exclusion programme under the supervision of a dietitian. Excluding too many foods or food groups can lead to nutritional problems, so if you think the food you eat might be linked to your rheumatoid arthritis symptoms ask your family doctor.

Arthritis Diet- Nutritional Supplements

There is no scientific evidence to support the use of antioxidant vitamins or mineral supplements in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. A healthy arthritis diet should contain all the nutrients needed by the body. However, if your arthritis diet is very restricted or your appetite poor a general multivitamin/mineral supplement may provide useful background fortification. Check with your doctor or pharmacist first, as some may interfere with medications you may be taking.

Arthritis Diet- Fish Oils

The research for fish oil supplements is promising. In clinical trials, high dose fish oil supplements have been shown to reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, such as the duration of morning stiffness, the number of swollen and tender joints and joint pain. Fish oil supplements should be rich in the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA. Symptom relief can take up to three months to achieve. The beneficial effects may be enhanced by reducing the amount of omega-6 polyunsaturated fats in the arthritis diet. Some eggs and breads are enriched with omega-3 fats and are another useful way to increase the weekly intake of EPA and DHA.

Following the dietary tips above may help to relieve some of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. It is important to maintain a healthy weight. Healthy eating combined with regular exercise will assist weight loss. Reduce the amount of saturated fat you consume to benefit your joint and heart health, and change the balance of polyunsaturated fats you eat so you have more omega-3 fats and fewer omega-6 fats.

Observe your arthritis diet and your weight, as excess weight is harmful to joint health and may increase pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints.

Arthritis causes

Anatomy of knee joint:

Arthritis causesIn order to understand arthritis causes, it is necessary to know bone joint anatomy. Our bones help us stand up straight and our muscles help our bones to move together. Bones connect at the joints. The most obvious joints are the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles. We have joints between the different bones of our fingers and toes. We also have joints that allow our vertebrae to move.

A material called cartilage, which keeps the bones from rubbing against each other during motion, covers the ends of the bones of a joint. There is a little bag containing a small amount of fluid called synovium between the two pieces of cartilage in a joint. The combination of cartilage and synovium allows for smooth, painless motion in any given joint.

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What are Arthritis causes ?

Arthritis causes when the cartilage and the synovium in joints is inflamed or destroyed. There are many types of arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is due to chronic wear and tear. Osteoarthritis is more common in older people. Post-traumatic arthritis is due to trauma to a joint. Trauma may happen during a car accident, sports injury, etc. If the synovium in a joint becomes inflamed, it could end up being destroyed as well as the underlying joint. This destruction is called rheumatoid arthritis.

Arthritis causes pain and limited movement in the joint. Rheumatoid arthritis involves swelling, redness, and tenderness in the joint.

Signs & Symptoms of Arthritis:

All types of arthritis involve inflammation or destruction of the joints, which typically causes pain as well as deformity of the joint.

When arthritis is very severe, both bones of the joint may actually grow into each other, this arthritis causes them to fuse together. Rheumatoid arthritis leads to swelling, redness, and tenderness in the affected joints. The joints most commonly affected by osteoarthritis include the ones:

  • between the fingers
  • between the vertebrae
  • in the hips
  • in the knees
  • in the wrists

The joints most commonly affected by rheumatoid arthritis include the ones:

  • between the palm of the hands and the fingers
  • between the vertebrae
  • in the hips
  • in the knees
  • in the wrists

Arthritis causes pain, deformity, and inability to control the joint. It can lead to abnormal curvature of the spine called scoliosis, which can cause pinched nerves.

What cause Osteoarthritis ?

Osteoarthritis occurs due to repetitive use of the joints. For this reason, it is more common in weight-bearing joints, such as hips and knees.

Repetitive use of the joints leads to wear and tear on the cartilage in the joint. Grinding and crackling sounds come from affected joints when they move.

Obesity makes osteoarthritis worse because it puts more stress on the joints involved. The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown. In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system of the body attacks the synovium of the joint, destroying the joint. Rheumatoid arthritis appears to run in some families.

Some kinds of arthritis can cause problems in the eyes or organs in the chest and abdomen. Some kinds of arthritis affect the skin, also. Certain arthritis-like conditions are present in diseases such as lupus, gout, and hepatitis.

When you understand Arthritis causes, it will be easier to understand how to minimize the damage.

Arthritis in the Knee

What is Arthritis in the Knee ?

Arthritis is the name of any of more than 300 inflammatory joint disorders. There are many different types of arthritis, several of which can affect the knee. The most common form is osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease (DJD). In this condition, the slippery cartilage that covers the ends of bones in joints wears down. Cartilage protects the joints and acts as a shock absorber. It provides a smooth, gliding surface for joint motion. Without cartilage to protect the joints, the ends of the bone rub together, causing pain. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can also affect the knees. RA is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints, usually in a symmetrical pattern (if one knee has it, the other one will also). In RA, the joint lining (synovium), normally smooth and shiny, becomes inflamed, painful and swollen. The disease, which lasts over a long period of time, can cause damage to cartilage.

arthritis in the kneeThe knee consists of the two leg bones (femur and tibia), as well as the patella, or kneecap. The surfaces of the bones are slightly curved, so that the femur rests in a shallow pocket. The bones are covered by a thin layer of articular cartilage which protects the bone and provides a smooth surface to slide against. In addition, a thicker piece of cartilage called the meniscus also protects the surfaces of the bones and provides a cushion against the shock of weight and normal activities.

Stability in the knee is provided by a set of ligaments that connect the tibia to femur, one on each side and two that cross between the bones. Finally, muscles and tendons that attach to the patella, or kneecap, assist in stabilizing the joint.

In a normal knee, the surfaces of the bones are smooth and rubbery, allowing all the components to slide against each other easily. In an arthritic knee, however, the articular cartilage is broken down, causing the surfaces to be worn and the bone exposed. When this happens, the bone rubs together during movement and soft tissue become inflamed, causing pain.

What causes Arthritis in the Knee?

Osteoarthritis can be caused by repeated stress on the joint. The condition tends to affect older people more frequently. Young persons affected with osteoarthritis may have inherited a form of the disease or may have suffered from a repeated injury.

What are the Symptoms of Arthritis in the Knee?

Arthritis in the knee will generally cause pain, swelling and stiffness. The knee may be stiff only in the morning,
or may persist throughout the day. It may lock up or become stiff suddenly, due to cartilage that becomes trapped in the hinge of the knee.

Your doctor may take x-rays of your knee to rule out other possible conditions, and also to check for a decreased amount of joint space that can appear due to the reduced amount of cartilage. As the wear and weight bearing continues, the joint may wear asymmetrically and angulate producing a knock-knee (genu valgum) or bowleg (genu varum) deformity.

What is the Treatment for Arthritis in the Knee?

Your doctor will usually prescribe medications such as aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen to reduce the swelling. Losing any excess weight will also help to improve the effects of osteoarthritis.

Unfortunately, however, the symptoms of arthritis may be chronic, lasting a lifetime. This can make ordinary tasks difficult and cause psychological effects as well.

There are many treatments available, short of surgery, to help alleviate the symptoms of arthritis. Activities should be tailored to what is most comfortable, but should not be completely curtailed. A common misconception is that one can prevent the progress of arthritis by completely avoiding the knee. While continued activity may aggravate the injury, you should continue to remain as active as you can, as this will prevent the loss of bone and muscle strength.

If you need assistance walking, a cane may help to reduce some stress on the knee. In addition, losing weight if you are significantly overweight will help both to minimize stress on the joint, and will make surgery go more smoothly if it becomes necessary. If your arthritis becomes severe, significantly limiting daily movement and causing a great deal of pain, total knee replacement surgery may be warranted to try to improve function in the joint. This involves replacing a portion of the diseased bone on the tibia and femur with plastic and metal components. These components are designed to slide smoothly against each other, reducing friction and allowing you to return to a more normal schedule of activities.

Osteotomy involves cutting the bone in order to improve alignment of the lower extremity. This can markedly decrease pain and improve function. If indicated, another surgical option for Arthritis in the Knee is an osteotomy.

What causes arthritis in hands?

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis literally means “inflamed joint.” Normally a joint consists of two smooth, cartilage-covered bone surfaces that fit together as a matched set and that move smoothly against one other. Arthritis results when these smooth surfaces become irregular and don’t fit together well anymore and essentially “wear out.”

 

What causes arthritis in hands ?

Arthritis can affect any joint in the body, but it is most noticeable when it affects the hands and fingers. Each hand has 19 bones, plus 8 small bones and the two forearm bones that form the wrist. Arthritis in hands can be both painful and disabling. The most common forms of arthritis in hands are osteoarthritis, post-traumatic arthritis (after an injury), and rheumatoid arthritis. Other causes of arthritis in hands are infection, gout, and psoriasis.

 

What causes arthritis in hands ? Rheumatoid arthritis of the hand:

Arthritis in handsRheumatoid arthritis affects the cells that line and normally lubricate the joints (synovial tissue). This is a systemic condition (can affect the whole body), which means that it may affect multiple joints, usually on both sides of the body. The joint lining (synovium) becomes inflamed and swollen and erodes the cartilage and bone. The swollen tissue may also stretch the surrounding ligaments, which are the connective tissues that hold the bones together, resulting in deformity and instability. The inflammation may also spread to the tendons, which are the rope-like structures that link muscles to bones. This can result in stretching out of and ruptures of the tendons. Rheumatoid arthritis in hands is most common in the wrist and the finger knuckles.

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Signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis:

Stiffness, swelling, and pain are symptoms common to all forms of arthritis in hands. In rheumatoid arthritis, some joints may be more swollen than others. There is often a sausage-shaped (fusiform) swelling of the finger. Other symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in hands include:

  • a soft lump over the back of the hand that moves with the tendons that straighten the fingers
  • a creaking sound (crepitus) during movement
  • a shift in the position of the fingers as they drift away from the direction of the thumb
  • swelling and inflammation of the tendons that bend the fingers, resulting in clicking or triggering of the finger as it bends, and sometimes causing numbness and tingling in the fingers (carpal tunnel syndrome)
  • rupture of tendons with loss of ability to straighten or bend certain fingers or the thumb
  • unstable joints in the wrist, fingers, and thumb
  • deformity in which the middle joint of the finger becomes bent and the end joint hyperextended (Boutonnière deformity
  • hyperextension (sway-back) at the middle joint of the finger associated with a bent fingertip (swan-neck deformity

 

How arthritis in hands is diagnosed ?

Your doctor will examine you and determine whether you have similar symptoms in other joints and assess the impact of the arthritis on your life and activities. The clinical appearance of the hands and fingers helps to diagnose the type of arthritis. X-rays will also show certain characteristics of rheumatoid arthritis, such as narrowing of the joint space, swelling and diminished bone density near the joints, and erosions of the bone. If your doctor suspects rheumatoid arthritis, he or she may request blood or other lab tests to confirm the diagnosis.

Diet for Arthritis

What is Role of Diet for Arthritis:

People have suspected that foods are an important factor in the development of rheumatoid arthritis. Many notice an improvement in their condition when they avoid dairy products, citrus fruits, tomatoes, eggplant, and certain other foods. It seemed that dairy products were to blame for her arthritis, for when they eliminated them from their diet, the arthritis disappeared completely.

It is revealed that the foods most commonly believed to worsen the condition were red meat, sugar, fats, salt, caffeine, and nightshade plants (e.g. tomatoes, eggplant). Once the offending food is eliminated completely, improvement usually comes within a few weeks. Dairy foods are probably one of the principle offenders, and the problem is the dairy protein, rather than the fat, so skim products are as much a problem as whole milk.

An increasing volume of research shows that certain dietary changes do in fact help. For example, polyunsaturated oils and omega-3 supplements have a mild beneficial effect, and researchers have found that vegan diet for Arthritis are beneficial. One 2002 study looked at the influence of a very low fat vegan diet for arthritis on subjects with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. After only four weeks on the diet, almost all measures of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms decreased significantly.

The journal Rheumatology published a study that found a gluten-free vegan diet improved the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. An uncooked vegan diet, rich in antioxidants and fiber was shown in another study to decrease joint stiffness and pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Some research studies have looked at fasting followed by a vegetarian or vegan diet. A review of multiple research studies concluded that this dietary treatment might be useful in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

Vegetarian Diet for Arthritis:

vegan-diet for ArthritisVegan diets dramatically reduce the overall amount of fat in the diet, and alter the composition of fats. This, in turn, can affect the immune processes that influence arthritis. The omega-3 fatty acids in vegetables may be a key factor, along with the near absence of saturated fat. The fact that patients also lose weight on a vegan diet contributes to the improvement. In addition, vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which can neutralize free radicals. Oxygen free radicals attack many parts of the body, contribute to heart disease and cancer, and intensify the aging processes generally, including of the joints.

Iron acts as a catalyst, encouraging the production of these dangerous molecules. Vitamins C and E, which are plentiful in a diet made of vegetables and grains, help neutralize free radicals. Meats supply an overload of iron, no vitamin C, and very little vitamin E, whereas vegetables contain more controlled amounts of iron, and generous quantities of antioxidant vitamins. As well as being helpful in preventing arthritis, antioxidants may also have a role in reducing its symptoms.

Some arthritis treatments, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, work at least in part by neutralizing free radicals. For the most part, however, vitamins and other antioxidants will be of more use in preventing damage before it occurs, rather than in treating an inflamed joint. A diet for Arthritis drawn from fruits, vegetables, grains and beans therefore appears to be helpful in preventing and, in some cases, ameliorating arthritis.

Diet for Arthritis- The Four-Week Anti-Arthritis Diet:

(adapted from Foods That Fight Pain, by Neal Barnard, M.D.)

For four weeks, include generous amounts of foods from the pain-safe list in your routine. At the same time, scrupulously avoid the major triggers. It is important to avoid these foods completely, as even a small amount can cause symptoms.

Foods that are not on either list can be consumed, so long as you are emphasizing the arthritis-safe foods and scrupulously avoiding the major triggers. You may well experience benefits earlier than four weeks, but for some people it can take this long for chronically inflamed joints to cool down.

Diet for Arthritis- Pain-Safe Foods:

Pain-safe foods virtually never contribute to arthritis or other painful conditions. These include:

  • Brown rice
  • Cooked or dried fruits: cherries, cranberries, pears, prunes (but not citrus fruits, bananas, peaches or tomatoes)
  • Cooked green, yellow, and orange vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, chard, collards, lettuce, spinach, string beans, summer or winter squash, sweet potatoes, tapioca, and taro (poi)
  • Water: plain water or carbonated forms, such as Perrier are fine. Other beverages—even herbal teas—can be triggers.
  • Condiments: modest amounts of salt, maple syrup and vanilla extract are usually well tolerated.

After four weeks, if your symptoms have improved or disappeared, the next step is to nail down which one or more of the trigger foods has been causing your problem. Simply reintroduce the foods you have eliminated back into your diet one at a time, every two days.

Have a generous amount of each newly reintroduced food and see whether your joints flare up again. If so, eliminate the food that seems to have caused the problem, and let your joints cool down again. Then continue to reintroduce the other foods. Wait at least two weeks before trying a problem food a second time. Many people have more than one food trigger.

It is not recommended to bring meats, dairy products or eggs back into your diet. Not only are they major triggers, but they also encourage hormone imbalances that may contribute to joint pain and also lead to many other health problems.

Avoid Major Arthritis Triggers:

  1. Dairy products*
  2. Corn
  3. Meats**
  4. Wheat, oats, rye
  5. Eggs
  6. Citrus fruits
  7. Potatoes
  8. Tomatoes
  9. Nuts
  10. Coffee

*All dairy products should be avoided: skim or whole cow’s milk, goat’s milk, cheese, yogurt, etc. **All meats should be avoided: beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish, etc.

Refer to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthritis for more information on Diet for Arthritis.

Arthritis Treatment – Pain Management

Arthritis Treatment – Pain Management

Patient education is an important component and first step in Arthritis Treatment (Pain Management).

 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:

arthritis treatmentCognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) interventions can assist in management of pain and disability. CBT is used to reduce pain and psychological disability and to enhance self-efficacy and pain coping. Strategies includes cognitive-coping skills, distraction, mental imagery, cognitive restructuring, activity-pacing methods, pleasant activity scheduling, goal setting, relaxation based skills, stress management, and relapse prevention methods. CBT enhances, rather than replaces, other medical therapies.

 

Weight Management:

Weight management should be an integral part of patient education and involves improving awareness of the relationship between healthy body weight and improvement in symptoms of arthritis. Restricted calorie intake, dietary supplements, and nutritional education should be provided. The guidelines recommend that patients with arthritis maintain a body mass index (BMI) of <30, and those above this level should follow a weight management program.

Physical Activity:

Increase in physical activity should be encouraged by participating in moderate intensity physical activity at least 3-4 times a week as recommended by the US Surgeon General. In Wisconsin, among adults with arthritis, approximately 27% are physically inactive as compared to 19% of those without arthritis.If this is not possible for the patient due to medical or pain issues, it is recommended that a referral to a physical or occupational therapist be considered to evaluate and provide a specific activity and exercise program for each patient. This includes range of motion, flexibility, muscle strengthening, and aerobic conditioning exercises.

 

Pharmacological Management:

Pharmacological management should be used in conjunction with nutritional, physical, educational, and cognitive behavioral treatments.

 

Physical Modalities:

Physical modalities are also useful nonpharmacolgical approaches to manage pain. Heat produces analgesia, relaxation, reduces muscle spasm, and enhances flexibility of soft tissues. Cold produces analgesia and reduces inflammatory response. Electrotherapy in the form of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation may reduce pain and increase function, especially if there is a neuropathic component to the pain.

 

Orthotic Devices:

A variety of orthotic devices are available to provide rest and stability, and can decrease pain of affected joints. These include hand splints, shoe supports, and functional orthotics. Additionally, when stability and safety of ambulation becomes impaired, a variety of assistive devices such as canes, crutches, walkers, and wheelchairs can maximize mobility in a safe and independent manner.

 

Alternative Medicine:

There has been considerable interest in complementary and alternative medicine approaches for arthritis treatment. Many of these are not regulated by the FDA and few evidence-based studies are available to demonstrate their effectiveness. Patients using 1500 mg of oral glucosamine sulphate in a placebo-controlled double blind study demonstrated improvement in pain and physical functioning. There is no evidence to support magnet therapy or copper bracelets in treatment of pain associated with arthritis.

 

Surgery:

Surgery should be considered when pain and functional limitation prevent the minimum amount of activity recommended, especially in obese older people. For optimal functional results, people with disabling arthritis should be referred for surgical care prior to the onset of joint contracture, severe deformity, advanced muscular wasting, and deconditioning.

Read more … For Arthritis Treatment here

Arthritis Treatment – General Plan

Arthritis Treatment – General Plan:

arthritis treatmentThe most common types of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis Arthritis treatment varies according to the site and stage of the disease. Proper Arthritis treatment can relieve symptoms and prevent serious joint problems. It can slow, but not reverse, the disease process.

In osteoarthritis, the purpose of a treatment plan is to manage pain (and inflammation), reduce stress on joints,maintain flexibility and muscle strength, and prevent further harm to joints. Arthritis Treatment can help a person be as active and involved in life as possible. Arthritis Treatment plan usually involves a combination of exercise, medication, heat and cold treatments, joint protection and lifestyle changes.

 

Exercise:

Exercise should be done regularly to keep the joints flexible and the muscles strong. Joints need strong muscles for stability. Range of motion or stretching exercises can benefit most arthritic older people. Consult a health care professional in developing an exercise plan.

Medication:

Drugs for arthritis treatment should be taken only under the supervision of a doctor. Several drugs are frequently tried  before one is found that works for an individual. Some people cannot tolerate certain medications. Age-related changes and other factors influence how a drug acts in an individual.

  • Aspirin is the most effective and widely used drug in the arthritis treatment. It relieves pain and inflammation. Some people who have arthritis must take large doses of aspirin several times daily. Although aspirin is one of the safest drugs available, it can cause stomach problems.To reduce stomach irritation, aspirin should be taken with milk or meals.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used to relieve pain, inflammation and stiffness. Advil and ibuprofen are commonly used. Some people have fewer side effects using NSAIDs.
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) has been found to be as beneficial as NSAIDs in relieving pain associated with osteoarthritis of the knee.
  • Antidepressants (certain types) can also help alleviate pain.


Heat and cold treatments:

A health care professional may recommend the use of heat or cold treatments to help manage pain. Examples of heat treatments are warm bath or shower, hot packs, heat lamps, electric mitts and paraffin wax. Cold treatments usually involve cold compresses or ice cubes wrapped in towels and are used to numb a painful joint.

Never apply extreme temperatures without a doctor’s order. Be especially careful when applying heat. Consult with a health care professional before trying a heat treatment. Elderly people with poor circulation and reduced sensitivity are at risk for burns.

 

Joint protection:

Joint protection involves doing activities the right way and paying attention to pain. Misuse of a joint that is already inflamed or injured can further damage joints, ligaments and bones. Assistive devices such as canes, walkers and crutches protect weight-bearing joints by reducing stress. They should be fitted by a health care professional. Improperly fitted, they can cause more harm than good.

Good posture and body mechanics protect joint and ligaments from strain. Weight loss, particularly in an obese person, can reduce stress on joints.

 

Popular remedies:

Arthritis treatment flourish like fads in food and fashion. Because arthritic symptoms flare up and subside, it may appear as though a remedy has caused the improvement.

 

Effect on the individual:

The pain from arthritis flare-ups interferes with daily life and enjoyable activities. Depression is common because people with arthritis feel discomfort and pain. Lowered self-confidence and worry about the future add to depression. Some feel tired and frustrated because activities they used to do easily have become demanding and painful. Many elderly people hesitate to make plans because the symptoms of arthritis come and go without warning.

Arthritis pain disrupts sleep. Fatigue and depression can decrease appetite. While therapeutic use of rest can help reduce stress on joints and prevent further joint injury, too much rest may lead to stiffer joints, weaker muscles and, possibly, greater inactivity.

In addition to arthritis symptoms, you may be dealing with other physical illnesses and age-related changes. Age-related changes in bones and muscles complicate the lives of people with arthritis. Aging cartilage, ligaments, tendons and synovial fluid cause joints to lose motion and steadiness. Pieces of bone and cartilage in the synovial fluid can cause pain and swelling. Your risk of falling increases due to declining muscle strength in the legs and trunk and unstable joints.

Arthritis Treatment-Guidelines for care:

People who do not have arthritis sometimes fail to realize the painful effects of the disease. They believe it causes only minor aches and pains. Remember, symptoms may be worse on some days and better on other days.

Because osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis among elderly people, the following guidelines apply. However, in general, the suggestions apply to other arthritis sufferers as well.

General Care:

Elderly residents who have osteoarthritis can be helped to maintain their highest level of function, prevent secondary problems and promote comfort in the following ways:

  • Conserve the resident’s energy. Plan a regular, balanced program of activity, rest and medication (if prescribed). Plan activities with rest periods of 15 to 30 minutes several times per day. Gradually change the pace of activities. Schedule enjoyable events during the resident’s best time of day. For osteoarthritis sufferers, morning usually is best.
  • Encourage correct posture and body mechanics. The resident should keep the back straight when lying down, sitting, standing, walking or lifting. Self-care techniques include using a straight-backed chair; pulling in the stomach and straightening the back when walking; sleeping on a firm mattress or using a bed board.
  • Remind the resident to avoid overusing or abusing joints. For example, encourage the resident to keep the hand open whenever possible; use the palm of the hand to rest the chin; avoid tight grasps on objects such as eating utensils.
  • Promote use of appropriate assistive devices. For example, crutches help take the weight (stress) off affected joints. Such devices should be ‘’fitted” to the resident by a health care professional. Padded handles on eating utensils and toothbrushes aid self-care.
  • Be aware of safety hazards. For example, uneven surfaces such as curbs, steps, gravel surfaces and sandy beaches often cause persons who have arthritis to fall. Prevent accidents by taking appropriate measures, such as providing personal assistance, installing a rail or ramp or regrading a surface.
  • Monitor medications. Persons should not stop taking arthritis medication when they feel better. The prescribed dose is necessary to manage the disease, even when pain and swelling are not present.
    • Watch for drug side effects. For example, black or tar-like stools may indicate that a drug is causing intestinal bleeding. Ringing in the ears can be a sign of drug toxicity.


Diet: 

Many arthritis treatment rely on diet. However, hundreds of careful research studies have shown that no “arthritis diet” prevents or cures arthritis. A well-balanced diet is most important. If you are overweight, consult the person’s doctor about a weight reduction diet. Less weight means less stress on arthritic joints.

 

Exercise and mobility:

Regular exercise is important in effectively managing osteoarthritis. There are numerous gentle exercises. A health professional such as a physical therapist or doctor can develop an exercise plan that meets the resident’s specific needs. The exercise plan may include putting the joints through range of motion and isometric exercises. Daily exercise helps prevent further decline in function and strength.

 

Sleep and rest:

You can improve stamina by taking frequent short rest periods during the day and resting before fatigue occurs. If sleeping is a problem, then you may try following:

  • Take a warm bath just before bedtime — Warm baths can sooth aching joints and aid relaxation.
  • Exercise in bed — This can reduce stiffness that causes you to wake during the night.

The Arthritis treatment mentioned above may be applied, however it is always recommended to consult your Doctor before taking any action.

Treatment for Arthritis

What is the Treatment for Arthritis?

Currently there is no cure for most forms of arthritis. While there is treatment for arthritis that can effectively control symptoms, you should be wary of any products or treatments that claim to cure arthritis.

 

Can arthritis be treated?

Treatment for ArthritisMany types of arthritis can be easily and effectively controlled by modern treatment. Early diagnosis and the right treatment for arthritis can ease symptoms and may even prevent damage to your joints. Research has led to great improvements in this area. Because arthritis affects people in different ways, treatment for arthritis has to be tailored to the needs of each person. It is important to work with your healthcare team to find treatments that suit you.

What can I do to live well with Arthritis?

The good news is that there are many simple things you can do to live well with arthritis:

  • Find out what type of arthritis is affecting you and learn about your treatment options
  • Be physically active: For people with arthritis, physical activities such as walking, bicycling, and swimming have been shown to have significant benefits, including reducing pain and improving physical function, mental health, and quality of life.
  • Learn ways to manage pain: there are many things you can do to help you cope with pain
  • Try stress-reducing activities, like meditation, yoga, etc.
  • Manage tiredness: learn to balance rest and your normal activities
  • Keep to a healthy weight: there is no diet that can cure arthritis but a well balanced diet is best for your general health. Weight control and injury prevention measures can lower a person’s risk of developing osteoarthritis. Weight loss also can reduce symptoms for people with knee osteoarthritis.
  • Look after and protect your joints: find out about equipment and gadgets that can make tasks easier
  • Acknowledge your feelings and seek support: as there is currently no cure for arthritis it is natural to feel scared, frustrated, sad and sometimes angry. Be aware of these feelings and get help if they start affecting your daily life.
  • Get lot of sleep. Sleeping for about 8 to 10 hours a night and taking short naps during the day can help you recover from a flare-up more quickly.
  • Take a healthy diet full of vegetables and fruits, which contain important vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin E. Consume foods which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Consult a physician: Early diagnosis and appropriate management are especially important for people with inflammatory arthritis. Recommendations from health care providers are the most influential factor in convincing people to take an arthritis self-management course.
  •  Avoid staying in one position for  long time. Avoid positions or movements that may place extra stress on your sore joints.

 

Read more …. Treatment for Arthritis – Pain Management

What are the symptoms of Arthritis?

What are the symptoms of Arthritis?

What are the symptoms of Arthritis? Arthritis affects people in different ways but the most common symptoms of arthritis are:

  • pain
  • stiffness or reduced movement of a joint
  • swelling in a joint
  • redness and warmth in a joint
  • general symptoms, such as tiredness, weight loss or feeling unwell.

Early symptoms of arthritis can be sometimes confusing, but they are important to recognize. Newly diagnosed arthritis patients quickly realize that early symptoms are just the first layer to be uncovered before a definitive diagnosis and treatment plan can be established.

 

Is my sore joint Arthritis?

There are many different reasons why your joints may be sore. Not all pain in muscles and joints is caused by arthritis. It could be from an injury or using your joints and muscles in an unusual way (for example, playing a new sport or lifting heavy boxes). Talk to your doctor if you have pain and stiffness that:

  • starts for no clear reason
  • lasts for more than a few days
  • comes on with swelling, redness and warmth of your joints.

 

How do I know if I have arthritis?

symptoms of ArthritisSee your doctor as soon as possible if you have symptoms of arthritis. Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and examine your joints. They may do some tests or x-rays, but these can be normal in the early stages of arthritis. It may take several visits before your doctor can tell what type of arthritis you have. This is because some types of arthritis can be hard to diagnose in the early stages. Your doctor may also send you to a rheumatologist, a doctor who specialises in arthritis, for more tests.

Call Your Doctor if you observe following symptoms of Arthritis:

  • The pain and stiffness come on quickly, whether from an injury or an unknown cause.
  • The pain is accompanied by fever.
  • The pain develops quickly and is associated with redness and extreme tenderness of the joint.
  • You notice pain and stiffness in your arms, legs, or back after sitting for short periods or after a night’s sleep.

Read more… What is Arthritis & What are the symptoms of Arthritis?