Arthritis Treatments & Symptoms
Arthritis is a common joint condition affecting all age groups. There are many different types of arthritis but the two most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Common symptoms include joint pain, inflammation and stiffness.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a less common but more severe form of arthritis. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys joints in the body, causing pain and inflammation. Further damage to the joints can result in a reduction of movement and breakdown of cartilage and bone. It is most common in those aged 40-50, and three times more common in women than men.
Osteoarthritis is the more common form of arthritis. It occurs when the cartilage between the bone starts to waste away, causing the bones in the joints to painfully rub together. The most commonly effected joints are the hands, knees, spine and hips. It is most common in people over the age of 50 but can occur at any age. Osteoarthritis is most likely caused by obesity, jobs which put repetitive strains on certain joints, or from a previous injury effecting the joints.
The number and severity of symptoms differ between arthritis sufferers, however the most common symptoms include joint pain, tenderness and stiffness, joint inflammation, restricted joint movement, redness and warm skin over the joints, and weakness and muscle wasting.
Although there is no cure, there are many forms of treatments which can help to manage arthritis symptoms. The most common are analgesics, which provide pain relief and can also have anti-inflammatory effects to reduce swelling and inflammation around the joints. A number of natural medicines can be used to manage arthritis. Fish oils work in the same way as anti-inflammatories to reduce swelling and inflammation, Glucosamine and Chondroitin work to rebuild damaged joints and cartilage, and Curcumin (Turmeric) is a natural anti-inflammatory which shuts down all inflammatory factors and provides long lasting relief. Topical medicines such as natural arnica gels to give heat and warmth to the area and increase mobility can be used, as well as topical anti-inflammatories to relieve swelling at the site.
Management & Prevention
Participating in a healthy, active lifestyle will reduce your risk of developing arthritis. Maintaining a healthy body weight is important as being overweight or obese can put a heavy load on the joints, putting strain on the cartilage and ligaments. Living with arthritis can be challenging but there are many things that can be done to make life easier for sufferers. Wearing supportive, well-fitting shoes, improving balance, eliminating tripping hazards at home, and installing rubber grips and rails in the home will all make living life with arthritis much more manageable.
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