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Arthritis - Rheumatoid Arthritis

Aug 11, 2008
Arthritis is a disease that causes inflammation and stiffness in the joints. One of the most common forms often affects the joint at the base of the thumb, called the basal joint. Arthritis is also very common in the joints of the hip, knees, hands, and arms.

Arthritis is one of the most common chronic health conditions in the US today. It is the major cause of activity limitations in older Americans. This statistic is bound to increase with the growing elderly population. Arthritis is often a chronic disease, meaning it can affect the person afflicted over a long period of time. It is a disease of the joints, characterized by inflammation of the affected areas. There are numerous types of arthritis, with the most predominant forms being osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

Arthritis is the result of disease or damage to articular cartilage, the white glistening surface of our bones found in the joints. This type of cartilage is found in all major joints of the body, including the hips, knees, and shoulders, as well as the smaller joints of the upper and lower extremities and even the spine and pelvis. Affected joints tend to have a purplish discoloration. Affected joints may display signs of inflammation such as excessive warmth and/or swelling on palpation.

Arthritis is not a condition that only afflicts the elderly as some may think. There are many people that suffer from this debilitating condition at ages ranging from children to seniors. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability among Americans aged 15 and older. However, arthritis affects people in all age groups, including almost 300,000 children. Arthritis is the most common disease in people over age 45, with more than 40 million Americans suffering from some form. OA is by far the most common, while RA is the most crippling.

Rheumatoid arthritis affects people differently. For some people, it lasts only a few months or a year or two and goes away without causing any noticeable damage. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition caused by an irritation of the joint lining. A traumatic injury such as a broken bone, torn ligament, or ankle sprain can result in arthritis of the joint. It can also begin as part of an acute illness, with a high fever and inflammation of the joints. Sometimes It can develop with little to no discomfort except for fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, and maybe a mild fever.

Rheumatoid arthritis related inflammation can affect the heart muscle, the heart valves , or the blood vessels of the heart (coronary arteries ). If it begins with a high fever and other general symptoms is called Still's disease. It can also affect connective tissue and blood vessels throughout the body, triggering inflammation in a variety of organs, including the lungs and heart. In severe cases, RA can lead to death from respiratory and infectious diseases. Rheumatoid arthritis is also an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks itself. Instead of fighting off viruses and bacteria, the immune system attacks joint tissue as well as tissue in other parts of the body.

Rheumatoid arthritis strikes chiefly the knuckle and wrist joints, but may occur in any joint. The disease frequently spreads throughout the body, damaging organs and connective tissue. The pattern of joints affected is usually symmetrical, involves the hands and other joints, and is worse in the morning.

Rheumatoid arthritis can strike people as early as age 30, but it most often occurs in people between the ages of 40 and 60. Women are much more susceptible to it than men. Prior to 60 years of age, it affects women three times as often as it does men.

Treatment is designed to relieve pain and restore function. Brief periods of rest may help if the arthritis has flared up. Treatment may include lifestyle changes, medication, bracing, physical therapy, or surgery and is tailored to best manage the condition of each patient. Orthopedic specialists at the clinic will address joint disease in hips, knees and shoulders. Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis is aimed at relieving pain and inflammation, preventing joint deformity, and preserving function. Most Treatment lasts just a few minutes per treatment. Updated x-rays are needed in order to determine exactly where treatment should be centered. Treatment is essentially the same for rheumatoid arthritis, with heavy emphasis on physical therapy and exercise to keep growing bodies active. Permanent damage from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is now rare, and most affected children recover from the disease fully without experiencing any lasting disabilities.

Another form of treatment called Biologics differ from conventional drugs in that they are derived from living sources, such as cell culture systems. Conventional drugs are chemically synthesized. Biologics Rheumatoid arthritis is a result of the complex interplay among cells called lymphocytes, cells called macrophages, and the messenger signals they communicate with, called cytokines. Biologic medications work by targeting these different areas.

Always consult a doctor or a physical therapist before beginning any training regimen. Age can also play a role in the cause of arthritis and should also be a factoring when planning a physical therapy treatment, something as simple as hip and knee exercises that increase your mobility can lessen the pain of arthritis. As we age cartilage can become brittle and can lead to joint problems.
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Learn more about arthritis symptoms, treatments and cures at http://www.MyArthritisReview.com
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