What is Arthritis and who can get it?
Arthritis is a name for a group of conditions affecting the joints which cause symptoms of joint pain and stiffness. Arthritis can affect people of all ages, lifestyles and background and even the children can get arthritis. It is not a disease due to aging but is generally believed because some conditions are more common in elderly. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and each type affects the joints differently. Some of the common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, gout and others.
What are the symptoms of arthritis?
Patients with arthritis have multiple symptoms like pain, stiffness, swelling, redness and other general symptoms like feeling tired, unwell and fatigued.
How can you diagnose arthritis?
Not all joint or muscle pain is due to arthritis. It could be due to injury. You should consult a rheumatologist if the joint pain fails to settle in a few days or is associated with swelling, warmth and redness of the joints. The rheumatologist will ask you questions regarding your symptoms, examine your joints and may order investigations such as x-rays to make a diagnosis.
What are the treatment options for arthritis?
The “window of opportunity” in the treatment of arthritis is in the early stages. Hence, it is important to diagnose and treat arthritis early before the joint is permanently damaged. Research and new drug development have made the treatment options for arthritis broader. In this modern era of health care, treatment options for arthritis are available but need to be tailored to the individual needs. Your symptoms can be effectively controlled in most instances with medications or if needed, a joint injection. It is important you discuss with your rheumatologist about the various options available for treatment.
Are there any lifestyle measures I can take for my arthritis?
Regular exercise and maintaining an ideal body weight are simple measures to improve your joint health along with the medications prescribed.