Arthritis, a disease that affects millions of adults in the U.S. and yet very few of us have a in-depth understanding of what the disease is. There are more than 100 types of arthritis and chances are that you know a family member or loved one that suffers from it. The term arthritis refers to various joint related diseases and other conditions associated with joint pain. In general, arthritis develops after damage occurs at one’s joints. The three most prevalent types of arthritis in the United States are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis. In today’s blog, let us discuss the common causes, symptoms, and treatments that are associated with these types and become better prepared to face these diseases.
First, osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and develops after years of wear and tear at the joints. Over time, our joints undergo degeneration through repeated usage and thus no one is safe from the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Factors that add to osteoarthritis development include but are not limited to past injuries, obesity, and genetics. Most commonly, osteoarthritis manifests in the hips, knees, feet, and spine as cartilage gradually degenerates. This progression of cartilage loss can lead to bone-to-bone contact. Symptoms of osteoarthritis often include aching pain stemming from the joints, reduced flexibility and range of motion while performing daily activities, and stiffness after prolonged periods of rest and movement. If you’re older than 40 or you have had a injury in the past, it is likely that you have experienced some symptoms in the past. Whether is swollen knees after a long day of work or stiffness in your neck and back when you wake up, osteoarthritic symptoms are often easy to detect and you should consult your provider if you begin to notice such symptoms.
Unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease causes by the body’s immune system attacking joints. Both genetic and environmental factors contribute to the development and progression of rheumatoid arthritis. Similar to other forms of arthritis, rheumatoid symptoms typically arise after continued joint inflammation, loss of cartilage, and other degenerations at the joints. Typically, this leads to swollen, painful, and warm joints and most commonly occurs in the hands and wrists but may also affect other joints within our bodies. RA affects more than 20 million people around the world and novel therapies are constantly being researched and developed. Common treatments include diet and exercise, medications regimen containing anti-inflammatory agents, and more drastically, surgery. In order to prevent the onset symptoms of RA at an early age, research has shown that eating a healthy diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can lead to reduced inflammation and pain as a result of RA. Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids include fish but if you are not a fan of seafood then you can also find omega-3 supplements at your local convenience store.
Lastly, let’s discuss the causes and symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. Like RA, psoriatic arthritis is also the result of an autoimmune disease known as psoriasis. Research has shown that genetics are believed to play a stronger role in the developed of psoriatic arthritis in comparison to environment factor ones. Typically, psoriatic arthritis can be identified by symptoms such as swelling of the entire fingers and toes, abnormal growth of the nails, and red, scaly plaques that develop on the skin. Although psoriasis does not always lead to psoriatic arthritis, it can serve as a good indicator that one may develop symptoms in the future. Similar to the types of arthritis we previously talked about, psoriatic arthritis also has a wide range of treatments. Common treatments include NSAID medication regimens but recent developments have lead to novel treatments such as biological response modifiers which utilized recombinant DNA to inhibit key steps in the production pathway of inflammation enzymes and intermediates.
For our patients, minimizing the progression and symptoms of arthritis relies on early detection and treatment. If you believe that you suffer from any of these symptoms or diseases, then please let us know at your next visit. Here at Georgia Pain and Wellness, we aim to treat the painful symptoms that often come with arthritis through multidisciplinary therapies. I hope I was able to share some knowledge today about the various forms of arthritis and please do not hesitate to contact us if you have further questions.