What is Arthritis?

If you or someone you know constantly complains of stiffness in the knees, joint pain or inflammation, the reason could well be arthritis. If you have heard about arthritis for the first time, then you might be interested to know “What is arthritis”? In brief, arthritis means joint inflammation, one of the most prevalent diseases in the United States, apart from being the No. 1 cause of disability.

You will also be amazed to know that one out of every three Americans suffers from at least one of the 100 known types of arthritis. In fact, it is second only to heart disease in terms of work disability. This chronic disorder also affects about 40 million Americans, and nearly 50 percent of those 65 years old and above.

What is Arthritis?

As a matter of fact, arthritis isn’t just a disease-it’s a complex disorder consisting of over 100 different conditions that can affect people anytime in life. It is a chronic disease that won’t go away in a hurry and will manifest itself commonly either as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.

Each of these forms has very different causes, risk factors and each reacts differently with the body. But, they are united in one area-continuous joint pain. If therefore, you suffer from arthritis you must be familiar with pain in the hip, knee, hand, and wrist or in any other part of your body. Check if you have joint pain, stiffness and/or swelling that goes on for more than two weeks, because this may well be arthritis. You might also find your hands, knees or hips getting sore and difficult to use and move. These are sure signs of arthritis.

When it comes to pain, by and large, the pain associated with arthritis and inflammation cannot be avoided, as one’s age increases. Usually, as one gets past the age of 50, arthritic symptoms begin to surface since, with time, the joints begin to degenerate naturally.

However, the good news is that arthritis can be managed with a judicious mix of medication, exercise, rest, weight-management, nutrition, and, sometimes surgery too. Your doctor will ask you to have blood tests and X-rays to determine if you have arthritis. Based on this, he will decide on the best treatment for you.

Over time, your treatments could well change and medication adjusted appropriately. It also helps to have a positive attitude and with the help of supportive family and friends, you could live with arthritis and do your daily duties well.

Arthritis can also set in due to the strain and injury due to repetitive motion, sports, overexertion, and falls. Osteoarthritis affects older people more than younger ones and is a result of the degeneration of the joint cartilage. It is also sensitive to weather changes and is said to be because the affected joints develop extra nerve endings to that the joint can be protected from any further damage.

Few people know that arthritis is now considered to be a major public health problem that is slated to affect 60 million Americans by 2020. But doctors say that early identification of symptoms of arthritis backed up by timely treatment and pain management measures can reduce both your discomfort and risk of disability.