Joint pain, inflammation and stiffness in the fingers, arms and wrists are some of the common symptoms that identify arthritis. Chronic arthritis can be very intrusive in someone’s life, preventing one from engaging in their social and even work life. One in seven Americans are diagnosed with arthritis and often have at least one other chronic condition. These symptoms can directly interfere with one’s social and work life and affect overall quality of life.
Causes and Diagnosing
Listed below are a few of the common causes of arthritis:
- A reduction in the normal amount of the cartilage tissue. Cartilage is a connective tissue in your joints that is flexible, yet firm, in nature.
- Normal wear and tear. Injuries and infections can cause a breakdown in the cartilage tissue.
- RA, an autoimmune disease that occurs when your own body’s immune system attacks the tissues in your body. The disease affects the synovium, a soft tissue that nourishes the cartilage in your joints.
Diagnosis of arthritis includes a physical exam with your doctor to determine if there is fluid around the joints, warm or red joints and if you are experiencing a limited range of motion. Doctors commonly use X-Rays, MRI and CT Scans to help determine what kind of arthritis you may have.
Fortunately, there are ways to make living with arthritis a little easier. Listed below are a few tips according to the Arthritis Foundation:
Medicine: Make sure to take your medicine! Living with arthritis pain can be very difficult to live with and seeking treatment can work wonders. Speak with your doctor about the types of prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs to help with inflammation and pain. If you experience any adverse side effects, speak with your doctor about other options.
Surgery: Replacing a joint with an artificial one may be an option as a treatment for arthritis. Surgery is most commonly performed for hip and knee replacements.
Physical Therapy: Strengthening the muscles affected by the joint is another treatment option. Involving the joint in exercises to strengthen the weakened area can help ward off the pain.
Healthy Lifestyle: Staying active and healthy does not only have an effect on your weight and general well-being, it can also help ease arthritis pain. Keeping your weight down with exercise and healthy eating can lower pressure on your knees and other areas prone to arthritis.
Stay Positive: Along with causing limitations on daily activities, arthritis can have an effect on emotional health as well. Many diagnosed with arthritis can experience depression due to their new limitations on life, but maintaining a positive attitude can help someone cope with pain. Try not to let the pain dictate you and prevent you from doing the things you love. Keep engaging with your friends and family and continue to stay active in your favorite hobbies.