Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Living with Arthritis

Arthritis causes stiffness and pain in the joints. It is a chronic condition and can lead to permanent joint damage, disability, and difficulty working and carrying out everyday activities. There are many different types of arthritis the causes of which are unknown.

Arthritis facts:
Osteoarthritis is the most common type. It is often seen in middle aged and older people although it can happen at any age front joint injury or overuse. It  usually affects the knees, hips and spine and can range from mild to severe,. Osteoarthritis gradually wears away the cartilage covering the ends of the bones as the joint is used.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) mainly affects people over 30, although it can strike at any age. It mostly affects the hands and feet, although the hips,  knees and elbows may also be affected. Joints can loose their shape and alignment resulting in pain and loss of movement.

Although there is no cure for arthritis it is treatable. Consult your doctor who may recommend over the counter anti inflammatory drugs or prescribe anti inflammatory drugs to reduce pain and inflammation Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis may require prescription drugs including disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, which slow joint damage; biological response modifiers which change the body's immune response; and corticosteroids, which decrease inflammation and suppress the immune system.

Joint protection : there are many devices for joint protection, including tools for reaching, opening and dressing; and extenders for household and workplace furniture; canes, splints and braces to support joints; and padded grips for tools. Joint protection may also involve learning new ways to perform activities that do not stress the joints.

Surgical options include arthroscopic surgery  where a small scope and other instruments are inserted into the joint, bone fusion in which the bones are fused together or arthroplasty in which damaged joints are removed or replaced.

Remaining active is very important. The key is to find a balance between activity and rest. Exercising to much may stress sensitive joints-to sedentary can cause stiffness and immobility. Try stretching and gentle movement such as yoga, tai chi and stressing. Aerobic activity such as riding a bike, swimming and water aerobics keep the heart healthy and muscles strong without putting to much pressure on the joints.

Remember to listen to your body. Stop exercising if you feel sharp pain and do not try to work through joint discomfort. Find activities that are gentle on the body and take them at a comfortable pace.

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