What You Need to Know About Arthritis

Did you know that over 54 million adults and 300,000 children live with arthritis? Despite the significant number of people with arthritis, there is still a lot of misunderstanding regarding this term. Arthritis refers to joint pain or joint disease, which can be any of the over 100 different types of arthritis conditions. Let’s take a closer look at some helpful information for those suffering from arthritis, which is a great way to raise awareness for Arthritis Awareness Month in May.

What Are the Main Types of Arthritis?

There are four main types of arthritis, which include degenerative, inflammatory, infectious, and metabolic. 

Degenerative Arthritis

Degenerative arthritis is when cartilage wears down, which causes bones to rub against each other. This process leads to pain, swelling, stiffness, and a reduction in strength overtime. The most common type of arthritis in this category is osteoarthritis. To help prevent degenerative arthritis, it’s recommended that you stay active, maintain a healthy weight, avoid injury and repetitive motions, and talk to your doctor about treatment options for pain.

Inflammatory arthritis is when a person’s immune system does not work properly and attacks the joints with excessive inflammation. This inflammation can lead to joint erosion and damage to internal organs, eyes, and other parts of the body. A common example is rheumatoid arthritis. Since this type is linked primarily to genetics and environmental factors, it’s recommended that individuals talk to their doctor early on when they experience excessive joint inflammation. Treatment options will focus on pain management, improving joint function, and helping to prevent further joint damage.

Infectious Arthritis

Infectious arthritis refers to a type of arthritis caused by a bacterium, virus, or fungus that enters the joint and causes joint inflammation. For example, salmonella, shigella, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and hepatitis C can all cause this type of arthritis. Treatment options include receiving antibiotics to clear up any joint infection, but this doesn’t always work for chronic cases that were not detected early on.

Metabolic Arthritis 

The last main type of arthritis is metabolic, which occurs when a person’s uric acid levels are too high. Uric acid is formed when the body processes purines, which are found in human cells. As the uric acid builds up, this can lead to needle-like crystals in the joint. These crystals create spikes of severe joint pain and can even cause a gout attack. If acid levels are not lowered, this can cause a person to have chronic pain and even become disabled. 

Now that we’ve discussed the main types of arthritis, let’s discuss some key information you should know about arthritis.  

1. Arthritis Can Affect Your Daily Life

Since arthritis causes joint inflammation, the associated pain can vary from mild to severe depending on what you do, your type of arthritis, and other environmental factors. You may experience swelling, stiffness, and even loss of motion, all of which can impact your everyday life.

2. There is No Cure for Arthritis

Currently, there is no cure for arthritis. For many people, there are effective treatment options to better manage their arthritis. This may include pain-relief medications, physical therapy to improve strength and regain function, and surgery for those with ongoing hip and knee issues. A patient’s doctor may recommend some lifestyle tips to help as well, such as regular exercise, healthy eating, and if they smoke, stop smoking.

3. Weather Can Affect Your Arthritis Symptoms

Did you know it’s true that weather can affect a person’s arthritis symptoms? When the atmosphere’s pressure changes rapidly, this can cause a joint flare up. To manage these flare ups, a patient may want to use a cold pack, take ibuprofen, and perform some simple stretches to deal with the weather changes.

4. Injuries Can Put You at Risk for Arthritis

If you injured your knee at a young age, this can make you six times as likely to develop arthritis in your knees by the time you reach age 65. For those with hip injuries, this makes you three times more likely to develop arthritis. However, regular exercise at all ages is still more beneficial than the risks of injuries.

5. Children Can Have Arthritis Too

When you think of arthritis, you may not realize that children suffer from arthritis too. Nearly 300,000 children have arthritis in the United States. Studies show that girls are more susceptible to arthritis than boys.

6. Exercise Is Beneficial

Those that perform regular exercise can better manage their symptoms compared to those that are mostly sedentary. With so many options to exercise, there is bound to be an activity for everyone based on their interests, health goals, and needs. For example, a short walk or water aerobics are excellent ways to move the body and better manage pain related to arthritis. 

We hope you found this article helpful, which discussed different types of arthritis and some interesting facts you may not have known. Here at Liberty Healthcare and Rehabilitation Services, we are dedicated to providing high-quality short and long term care designed to meet your individual health goals. Contact us today to learn more about our services or find a facility near you.