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What is Arthritis: Tips for dealing with Arthritis

What is Arthritis: Tips for dealing with Arthritis

Arthritis is a common disorder that affects your knee joints. It can cause pain and inflammation, which makes it difficult to move or stay active. There are different types of arthritis. Each of them causes different symptoms and may need different treatments. While arthritis usually affects older adults, it can develop in men, women, and children as well.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a disease that affects your joints. Arthritis generally involves inflammation or degeneration of your joints. These changes can cause severe pain when you use the joint.

Arthritis is common in the following areas of your body:

  • Feet
  • Hips
  • Lower Back
  • Hands
  • Knees

What are the different types of arthritis?

Arthritis is a broad term that defines more than 100 different joint conditions. The very common types of arthritis are-

1. Osteoporosis

It usually develops when joint cartilage breaks down from repeated stress. It is the most general type of arthritis.

2. Ankylosing spondylitis

It is also known as spine arthritis, which usually happens in your lower back.

3. Juvenile arthritis

This is a kind of disorder where the immune system attacks the tissue around joints. This problem typically affects children 16 or younger.

4. Gout

It is a disease that causes hard crystals of uric acid to form in the joints.

5. Psoriatic arthritis

A joint inflammation that develops in people with psoriasis problems.

6. Rheumatoid arthritis

It is a kind of disease that causes the immune system to attack synovial membranes in your joints.

Causes of Arthritis

Different types of arthritis have different causes. For example, gout is the result of too much uric acid in the body. But for the other types of arthritis, the exact cause of it is still unknown. You may feel arthritis if you:

  • Have a family history of arthritis.
  • Have a job or activity that puts repeated stress on your joints.
  • Have certain viral infections or autoimmune diseases.

Symptoms of Arthritis

Different types of arthritis have their own symptoms. They can be mild in some people and severe in others because it depends. Joint discomfort might come and go, or it could stay lifelong. Common symptoms include: 

  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Warmth

Tips to Manage Arthritis

There are a lot of things that you can do to manage arthritis. Day-to-day things that you choose to do to manage your arthritis and stay healthy are called self-management strategies for managing arthritis and its symptoms.

Practice these simple strategies to reduce symptoms and get relief so you can pursue the activities that are essential to you. These strategies can even help you manage other chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, or obesity.

1. Learn new self-management skills.

Join a self-management education workshop, which will help you learn the skills to manage your arthritis and make good decisions about your health.

Learning strategies to better manage your arthritis can definitely help you:

  • Feel more in control of your health.
  • Manage pain and other symptoms.
  • Plan and carry out valued activities, like working and spending with your loved ones.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Improve your mood.
  • Communicate better with your healthcare provider about your care.

2. Stay Active

Physical activity is a very simple and effective way to relieve arthritis pain. Being physically active can help you to reduce pain and improve function,  mood, and quality of life. Regular physical activity can improve sleep and support bone health, brain health, and weight control. Physical activity can also reduce the risk of having other chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes, and help you manage these conditions if you already have them.

Stay as active as your body allows. Doing some physical activity or exercise is always better than doing nothing.

3. Talk to Your Orthopedic Doctor

Talk to your orthopedic doctor if you have joint pain and other arthritis symptoms. It’s essential to get an accurate diagnosis of your problem as soon as possible, to begin with the treatment. Early and effective treatment is essential to minimize its symptoms and prevent the disease from worsening, especially for some specific forms of arthritis such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and gout.

The main focus of arthritis treatments are-

  • Reduce pain
  • Minimize joint damage
  • Improve function and quality of life.

You can actively manage your arthritis by attending regular appointments with your orthopedic doctor and following your recommended treatment plan. This is essential if you also have other chronic conditions, like diabetes or heart disease.

4. Manage Your Body Weight

Losing excess weight and staying at a healthy body weight is particularly crucial for people who are suffering from arthritis. For people who are overweight or obese, reducing their weight loss will also reduce stress on their joints, particularly weight-bearing joints like hips and knees. In fact, losing as little as 5-6 kgs can reduce pain and improve physical function for people with arthritis. At any age, low-impact, arthritis-friendly physical activity combined with healthy dietary changes can help you lose weight.

5. Protect Your Joints

Joint injuries can be a cause of arthritis, or it can also worsen your arthritis. Choose easy activities on the joints, like walking, cycling, and swimming. These low-impact activities have a low risk of injury and do not twist or put too much stress on your joints. 

Injuries to joints from sports, work, or vehicle accidents can increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis in your body. Take steps to prevent or minimize joint injuries to reduce the risk of developing or worsening osteoarthritis. Actions include wearing protective equipment and seatbelts and avoiding repetitive motion joint damage.

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