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All Posts in Category: Arthritis

Understanding the Types and Symptoms of Arthritis

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Arthritis is the name given to a group of chronic disorders whose symptoms include pain, swelling, and limited range of motion in one or more joints. Arthritis can effect anyone but is most common in older adults. Arthritis may result from trauma, aging, infection, an auto-immune disease, genetics, or occupational injuries. Treatment options for arthritis include medication, exercise, physical therapy, and surgery. Understanding the various types of arthritis and the symptoms that accompany them can help you communicate with your health care professional to find the best treatment.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is caused by the wearing away of cartilage around the joint, causing bones in the joint to rub together. Although almost everyone will experience some degree of osteoarthritis after the age of 70, people who work in certain physically demanding jobs or play some sports are more susceptible. Osteoarthritis sufferers often experience stiffness (particularly in the morning) and loss of range of motion in addition to pain that is more severe after physical activity or certain types of movement.

Another  common form of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks healthy cells. Symptoms are usually experienced in the same joint on both sides of the body. The joints most often affected by rheumatoid arthritis are the fingers, wrists, knees, ankles, and feet. Pain, swelling, and compromised movement are all common in rheumatoid arthritis, as well as eventual deformity of the affected joints in more severe cases. More women than men have rheumatoid arthritis.

Gout is a kind of arthritis that occurs primarily in the joint at the base of the big toe, although it can also occur in the wrists, fingers, knees, and heel. It is cause by excess uric acid in the blood, which is then deposited in joints and surrounding tissues in the form of uric acid crystals. Gout can have various causes, including genetics and trauma, but is often associated with frequent consumption of alcohol and meat. Gout is more prevalent in men than women.

There are many other forms of arthritis, including autoimmune diseases like ankylosing spondylitis and scleroderma, and those resulting from infection, like gonococcal arthritis. Although different types of arthritis can be differentiated on the basis of their symptoms, medical testing is usually necessary to conclusively determine the underlying cause.

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.

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Living a Healthy Lifestyle with Arthritis

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Arthritis is a chronic disease that affects as many as 50 million Americans. Although it encompasses more than 100 conditions that may have different origins, arthritis always involves inflammation of the joints which can lead to swelling, pain, and stiffness. While everyone’s experience of the disease is different, most arthritis sufferers will experience discomfort and limitation. Pain and limited joint mobility can compromise the ability to participate in and enjoy many activities of daily living. Fortunately, there are many treatment options that can mitigate the effects of the disease and promote quality of life.

Non-drug treatment approaches to arthritis, such as physical therapy, can improve mobility and reduce pain through specialized exercises, stretching, and manipulation of the joints, as well as the application of ice or heat, massage, and the use of splints and supports around the affected joint. Over-the-counter medications, like acetaminophen (a pain reliever) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, can alleviate pain and swelling, particularly in the early stages of arthritis. For more severe symptoms, prescription narcotics, like oxycodone and hydrocodone, steroids, like cortisone, and disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS) may be indicated.

In addition to physical therapy and medication, arthritis sufferers can take proactive steps to improve their quality of life. In many cases, simple lifestyle changes can have a big impact on the health and wellbeing of people living with arthritis. Low-impact exercise, such as swimming and walking, can strengthen muscles that support the joints and improve flexibility and range of motion. Getting plenty of sleep can help to reduce the frequency and severity of arthritis flare-ups. A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats (like those found in nuts, seeds, and fish) can help the body fight arthritis symptoms and improve overall health. Avoiding activities and positions that put stress on the affected joints is another way to minimize symptoms and improve joint health.

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.

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Prescription Medication for Arthritis

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Arthritis is a chronic condition that affects millions of Americans. Characterized by inflammation of the joints and surrounding tissues, arthritis symptoms can range from uncomfortable to debilitating. There are several types of arthritis, the most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is caused by the break down of cartilage surrounding joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder where the body’s immune system attacks the lining of the joints. Gout, infections, psoriasis, lupus, and other diseases can also lead to forms of arthritis. Arthritis symptoms include: swelling, pain, varying degrees of stiffness, limited range of motion, and skin redness. Treatment is available in the form of prescription medications to relieve symptoms and improve joint performance. Below are the major categories of prescription medications for arthritis:

– Analgesics

– NonSteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

– Narcotic Painkillers

– Corticosteroids – Prednisone

– Hyaluronic Acid Substitutes

– Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs)

Analgesics relieve pain, but do not treat inflammation. Acetaminophen is the most commonly used analgesic and can be purchased over-the-counter in the from of Tylenol and Excedrin. Higher dosage acetaminophen in combination with other other drugs such as Oxycodone or Tramadol require a prescription. Brands names for analgesics: Codeine, Ultram, etc.

NonSteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and reduce fever. There are three sub-groups of NSAIDs: traditional NSAIDs (Mobic/meloxicam), COX-2 inhibitors (Celebrex/celecoxib), and salicylates (choline magnesium salicylate). Prescription NSAIDs block COX enzymes that produce prostaglandin, the cause of joint inflammation.

Narcotic Painkillers relieve severe pain and are often combined with acetaminophen or NSAIDs to enhance the drug’s properties. They do not treat inflammation. Brands names for narcotic painkillers: Vicodin, Lorcet, codeine, etc.

Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory drugs that can be taken in tablet form to treat rheumatoid arthritis or injected into the joints to relieve osteoarthritis pain. Prednisone the most commonly prescribed corticosteroid, brand names include: Deltasone, Liquid Pred, Meticorten, etc.

Hyaluronic Acid injections are specifically approved for osteoarthritis in the knees. Hyaluronic acid is found naturally in the body as a component of synovial fluid, lubricant that allows joints to easily glide against one another. Replacement of lost hyaluronic acid helps relieve joint pain and stiffness.  Brand names of hyaluronic acid: Euflexxa, Hyalgan, Orthovisc, etc.

Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs) act on the immune system to slow the progression and damage of rheumatoid arthritis. Methotrexate is the most commonly prescribed DMARD and the most effective. Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) is given for milder symptoms.

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.

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Over the Counter Medication for Arthritis

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Arthritis is an inflammatory disease of the joints that affects approximately 50 million Americans. There are more than 100 conditions involving swelling and pain in the joints and the tissues around the joints that fall under the descriptive umbrella of arthritis. Two main kinds of arthritis – osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis – are the most prevalent. These two forms of arthritis have similar symptoms, although they have different causes. Osteoarthritis often occurs in the hands, knees, and hip joints, while rheumatoid arthritis most commonly appears in the wrists and hands. While arthritis is most prevalent in seniors aged 65 and older, arthritis can affect people of all ages, from all walks of life. In addition to pain, arthritis can affect mobility and compromise the ability to perform certain tasks. Despite the challenges associated with arthritis, there are a number of over the counter medications available to help sufferers reduce pain, improve mobility, and promote quality of life.

Topical treatments such as creams and sprays, which are applied directly to the skin over the affected joints and work by relieving pain and inflammation. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be taken to reduce osteoarthritis, pain in the joints. Avoid acetaminophen if you have liver problems. Aspirin, acetylsalicylic acid, relieves mild pain and is the active ingredient in several brands including Bayer, Excedrin, etc. If you have ulcers, a history of bleeding problems, or anticipate having surgery soon, you should not take aspirin. NonSteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) work by relieving both pain and inflammation of the joints. The only two NSAIDs available OTC are ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) and naproxen sodium (Aleve, Naprosyn). The most common side effects of NSAIDs include: heartburn, indigestion, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Do not use NSAIDs if you are allergic to aspirin or similar drugs. While all of these treatments are available without a prescription, it is advisable to discuss any drug with your doctor before taking it. Your physician will determine the risks and benefits of each treatment approach, and find the best medication to suit your needs.

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.

Arthritis Home Care New York

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