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The term “arthritis” literally means an inflammation of the joints present in our body and is basically used to refer to more than a hundred diseases of the joints. Basically, arthritis is the inflammation of a joint(s) that is usually accompanied by pain, stiffness as well as a change in the physical structure of the body. As is said, arthritis is classified as being an assemblage of bone and joint disorders generally discernible by bone weakening, joint tenderness, continual pain, loss of mobility and litheness, and other skeletal dysfunction.
It is said that “Arthritis is one of the most common ailments (especially among older people) and the most common condition leading to joint replacement surgery” (Medical Glossary, 2006). Hence, basically having arthritis means that a person is suffering from a degeneration of joints and an arthritic joint suffers from a loss of articular cartilage, and degenerative changes occur to the bone. It is basically the wearing down of cartilage and a loss of fluid by which the joints are surrounded.
Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Gouty Arthritis
Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis of middle age characterized by degenerative and every now, and then hypertrophic changes in the bone and cartilage of one or supplementary joints and a progressive draining down of opposing joint surfaces with consequential deformation of joint position more often than not without bony stiffening called also: degenerative arthritis, degenerative joint disease, hypertrophic arthritis.
It is a non-inflammatory degenerative joint disease that takes place predominantly in older persons, exemplified by the deterioration of the articular cartilage, hypertrophy of bone at the margins, and modifications in the synovial membrane. Osteoarthritis is accompanied by pain and stiffness, for the most part after prolonged goings-on. Osteoarthritis results from the weakening of the cartilage in one or more joints. It leads to joint damage, twinge, and inflexibility.
It characteristically affects the hands, feet, knees, spine, and hips. As is said, osteoarthritis, which is also known as OA as well as as “degenerative arthritis, degenerative joint disease, is a condition in which low-grade inflammation results in pain in the joints, caused by abnormal wearing of the cartilage that covers and acts as a cushion inside joints and destruction or decrease of synovial fluid that lubricates those joints” (Osteoarthritis, 2008). Because the bone surfaces become under-protected by cartilage, the patient suffers from pain upon bearing his own weight, which can be inclusive of walking and standing.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an unremitting non-bacterial inflammation of joints that causes coagulation of the synovial membrane and constant inflammatory changes. The articular cartilages are afterward softened and battered. Osteoarthritis might be occurring due to work-related hazards leading to wear and tear in the joints, but rheumatoid arthritis is an ailment without any acknowledged work-related associations. Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by the body’s immune system attacking the joints present in our body, above all the hands and feet. This shows the way to pain, tenderness which later turns into joint damage.
Rheumatoid Arthritis has the tendency also to have an effect on other organ systems such as the eyes, heart, and lungs. Rheumatoid arthritis is every now and then referred to as inflammatory arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is mostly suffered by women and is perhaps one of the most common types of ailments that affects a person’s mobility. It is said that “rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the joint lining becomes inflamed as part of the body’s immune system activity” (Glossary of Musculoskeletal Terms, 2007).
Gouty arthritis is a term used to refer to a type of arthritis that is caused by deposits of needle-like crystals of uric acid. Gouty arthritis is more prevalent in men as compared to women. Gouty arthritis is a sudden attack of pain taking place in the joints, particularly in the feet and legs, that occurs when uric acid builds up in the joints. As is said, gouty arthritis is a type of disease which occurs due to a diminish in the ability of the body to do away with uric acid, which in turn causes uric acid crystals to lodge in the collagen tissue matrices all the way through portions of the body, particularly close to the joints, or at supplementary locations “where a supersaturated solution of poorly dissolved uric acid will easily fall out of solution, near cooler portions of the body” (Fabio, 1997).
There are two dissimilar types of osteoarthritis that are generally known as primary and secondary. Primary osteoarthritis is the category that is basically linked with aging and is considered “wear and tear” osteoarthritis. This means that the older a person gets, the more likely it is that they will have some measure of primary arthritis. In actual fact, if we live a life that is long enough, most of us would for sure go through primary osteoarthritis, even if it is merely a touch. No particular cause can be related to this type of osteoarthritis.
On the other hand, when someone is analyzed to be having secondary osteoarthritis, it is for the reason that there is a perceptible cause for the disease. As it can be said, the go down of cartilage can be connected to injury, inheritance, obesity, or something else. Some causes of osteoarthritis are aging, obesity, injury, inheritance, weakness of the muscles, along with other types of diseases, as well as another type of arthritis.
Aging is one of the most common causes of osteoarthritis. As we age, our joints get overused, and the “wear and tear” part of this problem tends to set in, making it out as the most common cause of osteoarthritis. Another cause known to us related to osteoarthritis is that of obesity. As is known to everyone, obesity is a countrywide outbreak, and every day we get to hear about its dangers on the news. The augmented weight of our body is a solemn factor in the growth of osteoarthritis, focusing basically on our knees, which carry the burden of our weight all the way throughout the day and at night as well.
For every pound that is gained by a person, they add three pounds of pressure on their knees and six times the pressure on their hips. Since weight increase slowly but surely increases the strain on joints, the weight that is gained by a person the decade before they have symptoms of osteoarthritis, for the most part in middle age, plays an immense role in determining if a person might have osteoarthritis.
Sportspersons and people who have jobs that have need to make recurring motions, such as landscaping, typing, or machine operating, have an advanced risk of developing osteoarthritis as a result of injury and increased strain on particular joints. Osteoarthritis or OA also develops in later years in joints where bones have been splintered, or surgery has taken place. It is significant for athletes to be trained to take safety measures to keep away from injury and for people in recurring jobs to adjust their movements to diminish this stress.
Also, it is becoming extremely clear that genetics plays a character in the development of osteoarthritis, for the most part in the hands. Hereditary aberrations of the bones that have an effect on the figure or constancy of the joints can lead to osteoarthritis. What more has been learned is that fact that it is also more widespread in joints that do not fit together efficiently. For instance, it can be said that a bowlegged person is more likely to suffer from osteoarthritis at some point in his life.
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Increased tolerance or being double-jointed also increases the jeopardy of osteoarthritis. It is said that, in recent times, researchers have been paying much attention to a particular flaw in the gene accountable for the creation of cartilage as a risk factor. Having this particular inherited trait does not by any means mean that one will definitely have OA. What is meant here is that the doctor who you visit should be very careful and should check you every now and then, particularly for signs and indicators of the disease (Causes, 2007).
What is more, it is known is that weakness of the muscles surrounding our knees can also lead to osteoarthritis. People who suffer from some other type of arthritis might also get affected. Other causes are also inclusive of hemochromatosis, meaning that a person has excessive iron, which has a tendency to damage cartilage to the point of chronic weakening. Acromegaly, or intemperance growth hormone, also has unfavorable effects on the bones and joints and can lead to osteoarthritis.
The causes of rheumatoid arthritis are not really known to scientists and doctors as yet. Nevertheless, researchers are trying to figure out more and more information on this topic every day. What has recently been learned by scientists as well as doctors is that rheumatoid arthritis may be caused by an amalgamation of genetic, environmental, or hormonal factors. A very attention-grabbing theory is that the propensity to develop rheumatoid arthritis is hereditary, which means that it runs in families. Researchers have found that the predisposition to build up rheumatoid arthritis is interrelated to specific genes.
On the other hand, it is not necessary that people who have these particular genes would definitely develop rheumatoid arthritis, and people who do not have these genes can still develop the condition. What is suggested here is that other conditions and factors might also have the tendency to play a role in the cause and development of rheumatoid arthritis.
Another theory is that this type of arthritis is caused by environmental factors, such as disclosure to bacteria or a scrupulous diet that may take place naturally in particular locations. For instance, some scientists have found that patients with rheumatoid arthritis are more likely than those without it to have been open to the elements of a bacterium called Proteus mirabilis. Further believed is that other bacterial or viral infections also may set off rheumatoid arthritis.
Researchers also have found out that some autoimmune diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis, are more widespread in certain areas of the world. For example, scientists have recommended that environmental features, such as not being capable of getting sufficient vitamin D, might be part of the explanation that people living in Scandinavian countries are more likely to suffer from diabetes and arthritis. At the same time, as theories such as this necessitate further research, the cause of this type of arthritis remains unidentified.
A third theory is that rheumatoid arthritis may be pretentious by hormones. Researchers have found that hormones, like estrogen and progesterone, amplify during pregnancy but dwindle after that. This might be an explanation of why commencement of rheumatoid arthritis often occurs right after childbirth or why women with this type of arthritis who become pregnant often go through noteworthy symptom enhancement during pregnancy but have broken out of rheumatoid arthritis once they have given birth (RA In-depth, 2005).
The causes of gouty arthritis are many. Genetics may play a character in shaping a person’s risk due to the fact that up to 18% of people with gout have a family history of the disease. Another fact is the gender of a person, as this type of arthritis is more common in men as compared to women and more common in adults than in children. Being overweight adds up to the risk of gout due to the fact that there is more tissue accessible for turnover or breakdown, which leads to surfeit uric acid production.
Excessive drinking of alcohol can lead to hyperuricemia because it impedes the taking away of uric acid from the body. Eating too many foods that have excessive purines can cause or intensify gout in some people. An enzyme imperfection that interferes with the way the body smashes down purines causes gout in a diminutive number of people, out of whom a number have a family history of gout. Disclosure to lead in the environment can root gout. A number of people who take specific medicines or have certain surroundings are at risk for having a high intensity of uric acid in their body fluids (Eustice, 2006).
A number of accepted treatments for osteoarthritis are available in current times. These therapies can be separated into two foremost groups known as non-surgical and surgical. Some of the non-surgical therapies take in medications, dietetic supplementation, physical therapy, work-related therapy, workouts, self-management, and weight loss. The most widespread types of medications used to diminish pain in osteoarthritis consist of acetaminophen (Tylenol®), Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs NSAIDS (e.g., Motrin®, Advil®, Aleve®), and painkillers. Much interest has been paid to the field of nutritional supplements that are the edifice blocks of cartilage. These products, such as glucosamine and hyaluronic acid, are non-prescription, and in a certain number of studies, have shown to slow the development of osteoarthritis probably.
Physical therapy is intended to restoring the strength of the muscles, shielding the joint, and making the best use of the quantity of function that a joint has. Physical therapy can be particularly advantageous to the patient who wants to holdup surgical intervention. Occupational therapy is designed to providing bearing in performing the activities of everyday living and proposing suitable devices such as canes and bathroom apparatus to preserve independence.
Through some studies, it has been found that comprehensive conditioning and aerobic exercise can decline pain and add to function in patients with osteoarthritis. Even though weight loss can not overturn the damage that has been done to a joint, it can diminish pain, augment treatment and perk up the surgical outcome.
Different types of surgical interventions are also available, such as arthroscopy, in which the surgeon makes a small slit in the skin and places a diminutive tube through which they can scrutinize a joint and carry out procedures such as scraping cartilage or bone and revamp ligaments, osteotomy, in which the surgeon will take away part of the bone in a joint to realign the joint as a momentary treatment for osteoarthritis, arthroplasty, in which, the surgeon eliminates part of the bone and reinstates the joint with an artificial joint. These synthetic joints are ever-improving and can last many years (Osteoarthritis – Your Questions Answered, 2007).
No particular cure for rheumatoid arthritis has yet been found. Up till now, the objective of treatment in rheumatoid arthritis is to diminish joint inflammation and to hurt, take full advantage of joint function, and put off joint demolition and malformation. Premature medical intervention has been revealed to be significant in improving results. Aggressive management can perk up function, discontinue damage to joints as seen on x-rays, and put off work disability. Optimal treatment for the malady involves an amalgamation of medications, respite, joint intensification exercises, joint fortification, and patient (and family) education.
Treatment is personalized according to many aspects such as disease commotion, types of joints concerned, common health, age, and patient occupation. Two types of medications are used in taking care of rheumatoid arthritis: “fast-acting “first-line drugs” and slow-acting “second-line drugs” (also referred to as Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs or DMARDs). The first-line drugs, such as aspirin and cortisone (corticosteroids), are used to reduce pain and inflammation. The slow-acting second-line drugs, such as gold, methotrexate, and hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) promote disease remission and prevent progressive joint destruction, but they are not anti-inflammatory agents” (How is Rheumatoid Arthritis Treated, 1996).
The most widespread treatments for an acute attack of gout are dosages of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that can be taken orally or corticosteroids, which can be taken orally and can also be injected into the affected joint. When NSAIDs or corticosteroids do not turn out to be useful to control symptoms, doctors may think about using colchicine. This drug is most efficient when put to use within the first twelve hours of an acute attack.
For a number of patients, the doctor may recommend either NSAIDs or oral colchicine in everyday doses to put off future attacks. Doctors also may stipulate drugs such as allopurinol or probenecid to take care of hyperuricemia and diminish the rate of recurrence of sudden attacks. What is further recommended is for patients to drink more and more fluids to minimize the hazards of having kidney stones, and a diet that has lesser amounts of purines is prescribed (Acute Gouty Arthritis, 1997).
As can be seen in the above paragraphs, the risk factors for osteoarthritis are aging, obesity, injuries, and a family history of having the disease. As the cause of rheumatoid arthritis is yet unknown, we can suppose that the risk factors are environmental, genetic, gender of the person, and dietary factors. Gouty arthritis is more prevalent in men and people who drink a lot, postmenopausal women, people with diabetes, and those with kidney diseases (Acute Gouty Arthritis – I, 2005).
In the light of the above discussion, we can hereby culminate that the causes of all three types of arthritis are many, but they are curable if medication is taken regularly, otherwise surgical treatment would be recommended.
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