Arthritis is a disease of the joints that often causes pain, inflammation, and loss of range of motion. It affects people of all ages, from all walks of life. Although the symptoms are fairly similar, there are many different kinds of arthritis, each with their own underlying causes. Some types of arthritis are more likely to run in families, whereas others may be linked to physically demanding jobs that involve repetitive motion or heavy lifting. Some types of arthritis are much more common in older adults, while others can affect children and adolescents. An injury or an infection can also be contributing factors in the development of arthritis.
One of the most common forms of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In contrast to another very common form of the disease, osteoarthritis, RA is not caused by everyday wear-and-tear, trauma, or a demanding occupation. Instead, RA leads to damage to the joint when the body’s antibodies mistakenly attack the joint capsule membrane, also known as the synovium. This leads to inflammation and the growth of fibrous tissue in the synovium, as well as excess fluid in the joint. These processes lead to the degeneration of cartilage and erosion of the bones in the joint. Although the exact mechanism of RA is not understood, it can be a debilitating disease that causes great damage to the body and severely reduces quality of life.
Treatment options for RA include physical therapy, gentle exercise, the use of special splints and braces, topical pain relief gels and creams, and the application of localized heat and cold. Additionally, there are many over-the-counter and prescription drugs that can help to reduce swelling, relieve pain, and improve range of motion. In severe cases of RA, the use of steroids can help to reduce swelling. Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs), in contrast with drugs that simply alleviate symptoms, may actually slow the progression of joint damage in RA, and are especially useful when started soon after diagnosis.
Edison Home Health Care is happy to advise and assist you or any loved one who seek appropriate care of Arthritis problems. Give us a call at 888-311-1142, or fill out a contact form and we will respond shortly.