Symptoms include swelling, pain, and stiffness. This chronic inflammation can damage tissues if it persists for a prolonged period of time.
The hips and knees are joints because they are where two or more bones meet. Cartilage covers the bones of the joints with a soft, spongy material. Thus, the joints move freely and painlessly because it cushions the bones.
The joint is lined by the synovium. Synovial fluid is produced from the lining of the synovium, nourishes the joint, and reduces friction within the joint.
The joint capsule protects the joint from external forces. Joints are held together by strong bands of tissue (ligaments). These joints are supported by muscles and tendons.
There is pain, stiffness, and sometimes difficulty moving when there is inflammation around a joint. Arthritis can also affect the skin and other internal organs of the body.
One in five adults has some form of arthritis. However, it is more common with aging.
What causes arthritis?
Arthritis has an unknown cause. But genetics (heredity) and lifestyle play a role in the development of this disease.
There are factors that can increase the risk of arthritis:
- Aging wears down joints. This increases the risk of arthritis, especially osteoarthritis.
- Women are more likely to suffer from most types of arthritis, except gout.
- Arthritis is inherited in some cases. Genes play a role in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and ankylosing spondylitis.
- Being overweight increases wear and tear on weight-bearing joints and this increases the risk of arthritis, especially osteoarthritis.
- Injuries can lead to joint damage.
- Joint infections can occur due to bacteria, viruses or fungi.
- It is possible to develop osteoarthritis due to some jobs that require repetitive movements or heavy lifting. You are more likely to develop osteoarthritis if you bend your knees a lot and squat at work.
People with different types of arthritis experience different symptoms with different intensity or severity.
There are not many symptoms associated with osteoarthritis outside of the joint. Other symptoms of some types of this disease also tend to be:
- Signs of joint inflammation
- Joint deformity
Treatment for arthritis
The goal of treatment is to relieve pain, increase joint mobility and strength, and control the disease as much as possible.
There are several options your doctor can give you to control pain, prevent joint damage and prevent inflammation as much as possible.
Arthritis can be treated with rest, occupational therapy, physical therapy, hot or cold packs, joint protection, exercise, medications, and sometimes surgery. Several of these methods may be part of your treatment plan.
It is usually possible to relieve pain and stiffness, but the disease may continue to worsen over time. Treatments can now more effectively slow or stop the progression of rheumatoid arthritis damage.
How do you manage arthritis?
You can manage your arthritis in several ways. One self-management strategy is the activity you do every day to maintain your health.
Take advantage of these simple strategies to reduce symptoms, get relief and get back to your favorite activities. The strategies you learn here can also help you manage chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease or obesity. This can help you regardless of your age or gender.
1. Learn new self-management skills.
Take a self-management workshop to make good decisions about your health. Choose the path to manage your arthritis properly.
You can have better self-management with the following strategies:
- Improve your health by feeling more in control.
- Manage your symptoms and pain management.
- Invest time in valuable activities, such as working and spending time with family.
- Reduce stress.
- Improve your mood.
- Communicate with your health care provider(s).
2. Be more active
One drug-free way to relieve arthritis pain is through physical activity.
Adults with arthritis benefit from physical activity by reducing pain and improving function, mood, and their overall quality of life.
In addition to improving sleep, physical activity supports bone health, brain health, and weight management. Other chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes, can also gain some control through physical activity.
Adults should engage in physical activity at a moderate intensity for 150 minutes a week, on average.
Find a community program or learn how to exercise safely if you have arthritis. You can start with something low-impact and raise the intensity as your body gets used to the activity.
3. Talk to your doctor
If you experience joint pain or other symptoms of arthritis, talk to your doctor. To begin treatment, you should get an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible.
The goal of treatment will be based on reducing pain, minimizing joint damage, and improving or maintaining function and quality of life.
It is important that you follow the treatment plan recommended by your healthcare provider and also attend regular appointments to monitor your arthritis.
Diabetes and heart disease are chronic conditions, so you should take this into consideration.
4. Watch your weight
A weight loss (6 kilograms or 12 pounds) can reduce arthritis pain and improve physical function. You can lose weight with low-impact physical activity so as not to damage your arthritis (walking, dancing), and combine it with a healthy diet.
5. Protect your joints
This condition can start or worsen from joint injuries. Participate in activities such as walking, cycling, and swimming, which are easy on your joints. There is little risk of injury and no undue stress on the joints during these low-impact activities.
A joint injury from sports, work, or a traffic accident can increase the risk of osteoarthritis. Reduce this risk of developing or worsening osteoarthritis by preventing or minimizing joint injuries.
To avoid joint damage from repetitive motion, wear protective gear and use seat belts in your car.
An overview of arthritis
An early diagnosis of arthritis can minimize pain and disability in most types.
In addition, early diagnosis and treatment can limit the tissue damage induced by this condition. To prevent further damage and disability, early and aggressive treatment is important for rheumatoid arthritis.
Read about other medical conditions and how to treat them appropriately: