Arthritis is a term that includes a group of disorders which affect joints and muscles. Arthritis symptoms include joint pain, inflammation and limited movement of joints. When a joint is inflamed it may be swollen, tender, warm to the touch or red. In joint arthritis, the cartilage is usually damaged, narrowed and lost by a degeneration process or by inflammation. This makes movement painful. Arthritis is the most common and disabling chronic condition in women. Some myths hold it that Arthritis is a disease of aging. While this appears so, yet infants can be affected from birth with a form of arthritis known as Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Dealing with pain can be the hardest part of having arthritis or a related condition, but you can learn to manage it and its impact on your life. Pain is the body’s alarm system that tells us that something is wrong. When the body is injured, nerves in the affected area release chemical signals. Other nerves send these signals to the brain, where they are recognized as pain. Pain often tells the affected person that action is required. Long-lasting pain, like the one that accompanies arthritis, is different. While it tells you that something is wrong, it often is not as easy to relieve. Managing this type of pain is essential to enhance quality of life and sense of well-being.
Causes of Arthritis
Arthritis pain is caused by several factors, such as: inflammation, damage to joint tissues, fatigue that results from the disease process. Arthritis pain and inflammation cannot be avoided as the body ages. Along with physical changes, such as difficulty in moving, the emotional ups and downs of arthritis also can add to your pain. If you feel depressed or stressed because your movement is limited or you can no longer do some of the activities you enjoy, your pain may seem worse. You may get caught up in a cycle of pain, limited abilities, stress and depression that makes managing your pain and arthritis seem more difficult.
Signs of Arthritis
Arthritis pain can be ongoing or can come and go. It may occur when you are moving or after you have been still for some time. You may feel pain in one spot or in many parts of your body. Your joints may feel stiff and be hard to move. You may find that it is hard to do daily tasks you used to do easily, such as climbing the staircase or opening a jar or even writing. Pain and stiffness usually will be more severe in the morning or after periods of inactivity. In some cases of inflammatory arthritis, the skin over the joint may appear swollen and red, and feel warm to the touch. Some types of arthritis can also be associated with fatigue.
Types of Arthritis
There are five main types of Arthritis: Osteoarthritis (OA), Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Fibromyalgia, Lupus, and Gout. The two most common types, Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis are frequently experienced by women. The various types of Arthritis and related conditions can affect anyone, no matter his race, gender or race.
• Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common one and is mostly known as degenerative joint disease. It causes damage to cartilage and bones causing joint pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of function. It develops when cartilage (the smooth covering over the bones in the joints), starts to break down, usually as a result of aging, trauma or increased wear and tear. The result is pain and inflammation as bone rubs against bone.
• Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic disease that can affect the whole body, caused by abnormality in the body’s immune system making it to work improperly and therefore leading to inflammation of the joints and some internal organs. Such chronic inflammation leads to deterioration, pain and limited movement. It is an autoimmune disease and has no known cause. Two percent of people worldwide are affected while it is three times more common in women than men. Symptoms of RA are inflamed, swollen, painful and deformed joints.
Understanding arthritis is essential for its management, treatment and control. Inadequate or incorrect information however, may lead to unnecessary panic with harmful consequences.
Every moment that you live with arthritis pain, is a wasted moment! It is gone forever, and you will never get it back. If you have been diagnosed with arthritis, you are not alone. More than 46 million adults in the United States have reported being diagnosed by their doctor with some form of arthritis. No matter what your age is or how long you have been suffering, living with the pain of arthritis can be a thing of the past.