More than 50 million Americans are afflicted with Arthritis. Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more of your joints. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis causes cartilage (the hard, slippery tissue covering the ends of bones where they form a joint) to break down. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that first targets the lining of your joints.
Like any other disease, early detection is the key to managing your arthritis. Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:
- Morning Stiffness
- Joint stiffness
- Numbness and Tingling
- Limited range of motion
The risk factors for arthritis increase as you age, especially if you have a family history (which includes siblings as well as parents). Other contributing factors:
- Your sex. Women are more likely than are men to develop rheumatoid arthritis, while most of the people who have gout, another type of arthritis, are men
- Previous joint injury. People who have injured a joint, perhaps while playing a sport, are more likely to eventually develop arthritis in that joint
- Carrying excess pounds puts stress on joints, particularly your knees, hips and spine. Obese people have a higher risk of developing arthritis
Most of the time, your doctor will treat your arthritis pain with analgesics such as Tylenol or narcotics containing Oxycodone or Hydrocodone. They may also prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Ibuprofen. Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) like methotrexate and hydroxychloroquine are often used to treat rheumatoid arthritis as they slow or stop your immune system from attacking your joints.
In addition to treating your arthritis with medication, your doctor may prescribe physical therapy, which can be helpful for some types of arthritis. Exercises can improve range of motion and strengthen the muscles surrounding joints. In some extreme cases, surgery may be needed to repair., replace, or fuse the affected joints. We always encourage a visit with your doctor or nurse practitioner if any of your symptoms change or worsen, so be proactive about your care and schedule a checkup this month.
At Greystone Health, we are committed to your overall wellbeing and are always here to help. Please visit our website at www.greystonehealth.com.