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Arthritis Help

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Arthritis, the What and Why 

 

The pain of Arthritis is increased by the cost of Arthritis. Arthritic expenditures for just one person due to lost wages, medical treatment and other related expenses can come to more than $150,000 in his or her lifetime. Face it, medical cost are not going down, so that figure will probably double in 10 years.

And doctors believe there are over 200 different forms of arthritis, all sharing one main characteristic: all forms cause joint inflammation.

What can be done to provide arthritis relief? Many things, for example, weight and nutrition are only a couple of factors that play a role in arthritic pain. Shedding even 10 pounds to relieve weight from knees and finding the right nutritional strategy can help to relieve pain.

First let's go over some of the basic information about Arthritis.

ARTHRITIS BASICS

Arthritis makes itself known in a variety of ways. Joints might crack suddenly, like knees upon standing. Other joints may be stiff and creak. Maybe pain occurs, like when trying to open a jar. Don't mistake the common popping in your joints for Arthritis.  And no, popping your knuckles does not cause Arthritis - at least that is what my doctor says. 

Arthritis actually means joint inflammation and has over 200 related conditions or type / forms of disease. Left untreated, it can advance, resulting in joint damage that cannot be undone or reversed. So early detection and treatment are important.

 

The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Although both have similar symptoms, both happen for different reasons.

When joints are overused and misused, the results can be OA. What happens is that the cushioning cartilage that protects the joint breaks down, resulting in the bones rubbing together. This generally happens in the knees, but can be found in the hips, spine and hands often, too. And only in later stages will a person most often feel pain, after quite a bit of cartilage is lost.

 

The second type, RA, refers to the body’s immune system attacking joint tissue. Still not fully understood in the medical community, this condition most often starts in a person’s hands, wrists and feet. Then it advances to shoulders, elbows and hips.

Similar symptoms include pain, stiffness, fatigue, weakness, slight fever and inflamed tissue lumps under the skin. And both OA and RA generally develop symmetrically, i.e. affecting the same joints on both the left and right sides of the body.

A difference in OA and RA is with swelling. With RA, people report “soft and squishy” swelling. While with OA, people report “hard and bony” swelling.

Another difference is that a person is more likely to develop RA if a sibling or parent had it. While a person with a history of joint damage, either an injury or chronic strain, runs a higher risk for developing OA.

There is no specific age for arthritis sufferers. While it can affect every age group, it seems to focus on those over 45 years of age. And while neither gender is immune, a reported 74 percent of OA cases (or just over 15 million) occur with women and a slightly lower percentage of RA cases occur with women.

People with excess weight tend to develop OA, especially in the knees when reaching over 45 years of age. However, losing weight can turn the odds around almost by half. Regular activity combined with exercise also reduces risk, strengthening joint muscles and reducing joint wear.

OTHER MAIN TYPES OF ARTHRITIS

After osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), three other major types of arthritis are systemic lupus erythematosis, ankylosing spondylitis and gout. Let’s take a look at each.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosis (SLE)

– This form of arthritis mainly affects women. It develops in the skin, internal organs and joints.

Ankylosing Spondylitis

– This form or arthritis affects the spine and can also affect the ankles, knees, lungs, heart, shoulders and eyes.

Gout

– This is a painful affliction mainly for men, about one million of them in the United States alone. Uric acid build up, due to an internal chemical malfunction, forms crystals that get stuck in a joint, generally the big toe, and become inflamed.

 

If you suspect you may have arthritis, it is advisable to seek medical advice. Because health care providers can help to determine if the symptoms are not something else like a virus or tendonitis or other similar problem that could potentially worsen if left untreated.