The term arthritis covers 100 different illnesses that affect the bones and joints of the human body. It is used to describe a progressive, degenerative condition that causes pain, swelling, stiffness, immobility and sometimes deformity. Many people associate it with aging, but young people can suffer from it as well. It occurs when the cartilage between jointed bones wear away and when the fluids that help to cushion these bones become sparse. Arthritis pain can have a significant effect on quality of life. Other diseases can cause arthritis-like symptoms, as well as fatigue, weight loss, muscle aches, difficulty moving the joint and sleep problems. If not properly treated, the disease can cause severe disability, with muscle weakness, lack of flexibility and limited movement. The inability to move around freely often leads to other health issues such as weight problems and poor aerobic fitness. Arthritis affects 350 million people worldwide.
An Accurate Diagnosis
The medical specialty that deals with joint and bone diseases is called orthpedics. The orthopedist must first determine the source of the problem by ordering tests, such as x-rays, MRIs and blood tests to detect systemic diseases. Once he has an accurate diagnosis, he can begin to design an effective arthritis treatment plan. that includes arthritis pain relief and therapy for improved funtion.Traditional Arthritis Treatment
A number of traditional treatments are used to relieve arthritis pain and swelling in patients with arthritis conditions. Physicians initially prescribe NSAIDs medications, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These arthritis drugs helps to reduce arthritis pain and inflammation and can also reduce fever. Common NSAID medications include acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen. Cox-2 inhibitors are another class of arthritis pain relief drugs. Arthritis drugs can have serious side effects. Steroid injections can be given periodically to relieve athritis pain and reduce inflammatory conditions. Physical therapy can help to strength muscles around the affected area and restore a measure of flexibility and mobility to joints. Heat and ice packs can help to relieve arthritis pain and reduce inflammation. Surgery is often necessary for advanced conditions for arthritis pain relief and for returning function to the affected joint. Total and partial knee replacements and hip replacement surgeries are common in this country and around the world and usually return patient to full function.
Alternative Arthritis Treatment
In addition to traditional treatments, some alternative therapies can be used to help patients to restore function and avoid surgery. Acupuncture uses thin needles inserted at certain points of the body to relieve arthritis pain. Massage can be helpful to relieve pain and improve mobility. Some people find yoga helpful in increasing flexibility and strengthening supporting muscles structures. Some arthritis drugs have side effects that may be unpleasant for patients. For those people, a number of supplements, such as glucosamine and chondroitin, SAM-e and MSM may also be helpful for relief of arthritis pain.
You can reduce your risk of acquiring this debilitating disease with a number of lifestyle changes that help to protect your joints and your overall health. Maintain a healthy weight to avoid increased stress on joints. Eat a healthy diet that includes colorful vegetables, fruits, proteins, whole-grain cereals and unsaturated fats. Take daily supplements of vitamin D to help absorption of calcium that keeps bones strong. Your doctor can advise you on what supplements to take for your needs. Engage in regular exercise to keep the muscles that support the joints strong. Weight training has been shown to be helpful in maintaining bone health. Quit smoking and limit your daily alcohol intake. These substances weaken bones and increase your risk for bone diseases.
Prevention Strategy For Women
Women, in particular, can have a higher risk of arthritis and other bone condition when the hormonal changes of menopause can reduce bone mass. Hormone replacement therapy may be necessary to maintain bone health. Regular physical exams and bone density testing can help to prevent osteoarthritis and other bone diseases. Discuss with your physician what you do to help keep your bones strong and healthy.
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