This about Arthritis and what it is and what it is not. It is part 1 of a 2 part article.
You have Arthritis; Ok Doc What now? Part 1
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is quite common. The fact is, 50 million adults and 300,000 children have arthritis. However, arthritis is not a single disease. Arthritis is a way doctors refer to joint pain and joint diseases. There are over 100 different types of arthritis and arthritis conditions. It is not sexist, or racist. People of all races and sex get arthritis. Both men and women and adults and children get arthritis.
Common symptoms of arthritis are joint pain, swelling of the joints and joint stiffness. Arthritis pain can (for the most part) start out mild and grow worse over time. The joint pain can get to the point that is difficult to walk, go upstairs, use arms and hands. The damage that is done can only be seen on x-rays. Some types of arthritis can damage the liver, kidneys, eyes, heart, and skin. So, you see it is not just a "joint disease."
The most common type of degenerative arthritis is Osteoarthritis. This type of arthritis damages the cartilage of the bones. This is the wearing a way of the ends of bone joints with bone rubbing on bone. The bones also lose their strength and break easily. Many times a bone will break before a fall and because of the fall. This type of arthritis can be managed with the following ;
Balancing activity with rest
Using hot and cold therapies
Maintaining physical activity
Maintaining a healthy weight
Strengthening the muscles around the joints
Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever or anti-inflammatory medicines
A healthy immune system will generate a healthy internal inflammation to rid the body of infection and disease. However, the immune can get short circuited and mistakenly go after the joints and cause the joins to become inflamed (arthritic) .
When a bacterium, virus or fungus enters the joint and trigger inflammation,. For examples: organisms that can infect joints are salmonella and shigella (food poisoning), chlamydia and gonorrhea (sexually transmitted diseases) and hepatitis C (blood-to-blood infection, through shared needles or transfusions). In these cases, treatment with antibiotics can clear the joint infection; however, the arthritis becomes chronic.
When Uric acid is formed as the body it breaks down purines, a substance that is found in human cells and in many foods. If a person has a high level of uric acid because their body produces more than is needed or the body can't get rid of the uric acid fast enough. If the uric acid builds up and forms needle-like crystals in the joint, the person will feel sudden spikes of extreme joint pain, or a gout attack.
Arthritis diagnosis begins with a primary care physician. He/she performs a physical exam and do blood work and CT or MIR scan to help determine the type of arthritis.
What Can Be Done About Arthritis?
There are a number if things your doctor can suggest to preserve joint mobility and quality of life. Being overweight puts more undo stress on the joints. Learning all there is to know about joint disease and talking to doctor help to make wise choices. There are websites like www.arthritis.org and The Arthritis Foundation. The thing is, we have choices. We can choose to sit back and live with debilitating or we can fight it. I, for one, choose to fight it. I am going to try a number of options; I have done a lot of research on this subject. In Part 2, I will tell you what my choices have been and how well they worked for me. Please remember; these are my choices and I am not a doctor. At this time I am taking Prednisone 20 mg once a day. It is working very well. I have about 50% more range of motion in my left shoulder. (I am left handed) I had a knee replacement in the right knee. Doc had to go in and scrape five months later. Water exercise helps; however, it is as good as it is going to get. Would I do it again? No, I don't think so. The doctor has talked to me about shoulder replacement. That is a one (1) time deal. I am not ready to join a knitting club. I would not even be able to swim.