Overview of What Arthritis Is

Overview of What Arthritis Is

Unlike osteoarthritis, which results from wear and tear on your joints, rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition. The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, but it's believed to be the body's immune system attacking the tissue that lines your joints (synovium).

Rheumatoid arthritis is two to three times more common in women than in men and generally strikes between the ages of 20 and 50. But rheumatoid arthritis can also affect young children and adults older than age 50.

There's no cure for rheumatoid arthritis. But with proper treatment, a strategy for joint protection and changes in lifestyle, you can live a long, productive life with this condition.

Signs and symptoms

The signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may come and go over time. They include:

* Pain and swelling in your joints, especially in the smaller joints of your hands and feet

* Generalized aching or stiffness of the joints and muscles, especially after sleep or after periods of rest

* Loss of motion of the affected joints

* Loss of strength in muscles attached to the affected joints

* Fatigue, which can be severe during a flare-up

* Low-grade fever

* Deformity of your joints over time

* General sense of not feeling well (malaise)

Rheumatoid arthritis usually causes problems in several joints at the same time. Early in rheumatoid arthritis, the joints in your wrists, hands, feet and knees are the ones most often affected. As the disease progresses, your shoulders, elbows, hips, jaw and neck can become involved. It generally affects both sides of your body at the same time. The knuckles of both hands are one example.

Small lumps, called rheumatoid nodules, may form under your skin at pressure points and can occur at your elbows, hands, feet and Achilles tendons. Rheumatoid nodules may also occur elsewhere, including the back of your scalp, over your knee or even in your lungs. These nodules can range in size — from as small as a pea to as large as a walnut. Usually these lumps aren't painful.

In contrast to osteoarthritis, which affects only your bones and joints, rheumatoid arthritis can cause inflammation of tear glands, salivary glands, the linings of your heart and lungs, your lungs themselves and, in rare cases, your blood vessels.

Although rheumatoid arthritis is often a chronic disease, it tends to vary in severity and may even come and go. Periods of increased disease activity — called flare-ups or flares — alternate with periods of relative remission, during which the swelling, pain, difficulty sleeping, and weakness fade or disappear.

Swelling or deformity may limit the flexibility of your joints. But even if you have a severe form of rheumatoid arthritis, you'll probably retain flexibility in many joints.
Illustration comparing rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, involves the wearing away of the cartilage that caps the bones in your joints. With rheumatoid arthritis, the synovial membrane that protects and lubricates joints becomes inflamed, causing pain and swelling. Joint erosion may follow.
More On This Topic

* Osteoarthritis

Causes

As with other forms of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis involves inflammation of the joints. A membrane called the synovium lines each of your movable joints. When you have rheumatoid arthritis, white blood cells — whose usual job is to attack unwanted invaders, such as bacteria and viruses — move from your bloodstream into your synovium. Here, these blood cells appear to play an important role in causing the synovial membrane to become inflamed (synovitis).

This inflammation results in the release of proteins that, over months or years, cause thickening of the synovium. These proteins can also damage cartilage, bone, tendons and ligaments. Gradually, the joint loses its shape and alignment. Eventually, it may be destroyed.

Some researchers suspect that rheumatoid arthritis is triggered by an infection — possibly a virus or bacterium — in people with an inherited susceptibility. Although the disease itself is not inherited, certain genes that create an increased susceptibility are. People who have inherited these genes won't necessarily develop rheumatoid arthritis. But they may have more of a tendency to do so than others. The severity of their disease may also depend on the genes inherited. Some researchers also believe that hormones may be involved in the development of rheumatoid arthritis.
Illustration showing inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis typically strikes joints, causing pain, swelling and deformity. As your synovial membranes become inflamed and thickened, fluid builds up and joints erode and degrade.
Risk factors

The exact causes of rheumatoid arthritis are unclear, but these factors may increase your risk:

* Getting older, because incidence of rheumatoid arthritis increases with age. However, incidence begins to decline in women over the age of 80.

* Being female.

* Being exposed to an infection, possibly a virus or bacterium, that may trigger rheumatoid arthritis in those with an inherited susceptibility.

* Inheriting specific genes that may make you more susceptible to rheumatoid arthritis.

* Smoking cigarettes over a long period of time.

When to seek medical advice

See your doctor if you have persistent discomfort and swelling in multiple joints on both sides of your body. Your doctor can work with you to develop a pain management and treatment plan. Also seek medical advice if you experience side effects from your arthritis medications. Side effects may include nausea, abdominal discomfort, black or tarry stools, changes in bowel habits, constipation and drowsiness.
Screening and diagnosis

If you have signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, your doctor will likely conduct a physical examination and request laboratory tests to determine if you have this form of arthritis. These tests may include:

* Blood tests. A blood test that measures your erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR or sed rate) can indicate the presence of an inflammatory process in your body. People with rheumatoid arthritis tend to have elevated ESRs. The ESRs in those with osteoarthritis tend to be normal.

Another blood test looks for an antibody called rheumatoid factor. Most people with rheumatoid arthritis eventually have this abnormal antibody, although it may be absent early in the disease. It's also possible to have the rheumatoid factor in your blood and not have rheumatoid arthritis.

* Imaging. Doctors may take X-rays of your joints to differentiate between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. A sequence of X-rays obtained over time can show the progression of arthritis.

Complications

Rheumatoid arthritis causes stiffness and pain and may also cause fatigue. It can lead to difficulty with everyday tasks, such as turning a doorknob or holding a pen. Dealing with the pain and the unpredictability of rheumatoid arthritis can also cause symptoms of depression.

Rheumatoid arthritis may also increase your risk of developing osteoporosis, especially if you take corticosteroids. Some researchers believe that rheumatoid arthritis can increase your risk of heart disease. This may be because the inflammation that rheumatoid arthritis causes can also affect your arteries and heart muscle tissue.

In the past, people with rheumatoid arthritis may have ended up confined to a wheelchair because damage to joints made it difficult or impossible to walk. That's not as likely today because of better treatments and self-care methods.
More On This Topic

* Osteoporosis

Treatment

Treatments for arthritis have improved in recent years. Most treatments involve medications. But in some cases, surgical procedures may be necessary.

Medications

Medications for rheumatoid arthritis can relieve its symptoms and slow or halt its progression. They include:

* Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). This group of medications, which includes aspirin, helps relieve both pain and inflammation if you take the drugs regularly. NSAIDs that are available over-the-counter include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve). These are available at higher dosages, and other NSAIDs are available by prescription — such as ketoprofen, naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn), tolmetin (Tolectin), diclofenac (Voltaren), nabumetone (Relafen) and indomethacin (Indocin). Taking NSAIDs can lead to side effects such as indigestion and stomach bleeding. Other potential side effects may include damage to the liver and kidneys, ringing in your ears (tinnitus), fluid retention and high blood pressure. NSAIDs, except aspirin, may also increase your risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke.

* COX-2 inhibitors. This class of NSAIDs may be less damaging to your stomach. Like other NSAIDs, COX-2 inhibitors — such as celecoxib (Celebrex) — suppress an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX) that's active in joint inflammation. Other types of NSAIDs work against two versions of the COX enzyme that are present in your body: COX-1 and COX-2. However, there's evidence that by suppressing COX-1, NSAIDs may cause stomach and other problems because COX-1 is the enzyme that protects your stomach lining. Unlike other NSAIDs, COX-2 inhibitors suppress only COX-2, the enzyme involved in inflammation. Side effects may include fluid retention and causing or exacerbating high blood pressure. Furthermore, this class of drugs has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

* Corticosteroids. These medications, such as prednisone and methylprednisolone (Medrol), reduce inflammation and pain, and slow joint damage. In the short term, corticosteroids can make you feel dramatically better. But when used for many months or years, they may become less effective and cause serious side effects. Side effects may include easy bruising, thinning of bones, cataracts, weight gain, a round face and diabetes. Doctors often prescribe a corticosteroid to relieve acute symptoms, with the goal of gradually tapering off the medication.

* Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Physicians prescribe DMARDs to limit the amount of joint damage that occurs in rheumatoid arthritis. Taking these drugs at early stages in the development of rheumatoid arthritis is especially important in the effort to slow the disease and save the joints and other tissues from permanent damage. Because many of these drugs act slowly — it may take weeks to months before you notice any benefit — DMARDs typically are used with an NSAID or a corticosteroid. While the NSAID or corticosteroid handles your immediate symptoms and limits inflammation, the DMARD goes to work on the disease itself. Some commonly used DMARDs include hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), the gold compound auranofin (Ridaura), sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), minocycline (Dynacin, Minocin) and methotrexate (Rheumatrex). Other forms of DMARDs include immunosuppressants and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers.

* Immunosuppressants. These medications act to tame your immune system, which is out of control in rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, some of these drugs attack and eliminate cells that are associated with the disease. Some of the commonly used immunosuppressants include leflunomide (Arava), azathioprine (Imuran), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune) and cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan). These medications can have potentially serious side effects such as increased susceptibility to infection.

* TNF blockers. These are a class of DMARDs known as biologic response modifiers. TNF is a cytokine, or cell protein, that acts as an inflammatory agent in rheumatoid arthritis. TNF blockers, or anti-TNF medications, target or block this cytokine and can help reduce pain, morning stiffness and tender or swollen joints — usually within one or two weeks after treatment begins. There is evidence that TNF blockers may halt progression of disease. These medications often are taken with methotrexate. TNF blockers approved for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis are etanercept (Enbrel), infliximab (Remicade) and adalimumab (Humira). Potential side effects include injection site irritation (adalimumab and etanercept), worsening congestive heart failure (infliximab), blood disorders, lymphoma, demyelinating diseases, and increased risk of infection. If you have an active infection, don't take these medications.

* Interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra). IL-1Ra is another type of biologic response modifier and is a recombinant form of the naturally occurring interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra). Interleukin-1 (IL-1) is a cell protein that promotes inflammation and occurs in excess amounts in people who have rheumatoid arthritis or other types of inflammatory arthritis. If IL-1 is prevented from binding to its receptor, the inflammatory response decreases. The first IL-1Ra that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in people with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis who haven't responded adequately to conventional DMARD therapy is anakinra (Kineret). It may be used alone or in combination with methotrexate. Anakinra is given as a daily self-administered injection under the skin. Some potential side effects include injection site reactions, decreased white blood cell counts, headache and an increase in upper respiratory infections. There may be a slightly higher rate of respiratory infections in people who have asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. If you have an active infection, don't use anakinra.

* Abatacept (Orencia). Abatacept, a type of costimulation modulator approved in late 2005, reduces the inflammation and joint damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis by inactivating T cells — a type of white blood cell. People who haven't been helped by TNF blockers might consider abatacept, which is administered monthly through a vein in your arm (intravenously). Side effects may include headache, nausea and mild infections, such as upper respiratory tract infections. Serious infections, such as pneumonia, can occur.

* Rituximab (Rituxan). Rituximab reduces the number of B cells in your body. B cells are involved in inflammation. Though originally approved for use in people with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, rituximab was approved for rheumatoid arthritis in early 2006. People who haven't found relief using TNF blockers might consider using rituximab, which is usually given along with methotrexate. Rituximab is administered as an infusion into a vein in your arm. Side effects include flu-like signs and symptoms, such as fever, chills and nausea. Some people experience extreme reactions to the infusion, such as difficulty breathing and heart problems.

* Antidepressant drugs. Some people with arthritis also experience symptoms of depression. The most common antidepressants used for arthritis pain and nonrestorative sleep are amitriptyline, nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor) and trazodone (Desyrel).

Surgical or other procedures

Although a combination of medication and self-care is the first course of action for rheumatoid arthritis, other methods are available for severe cases:

* Prosorba column. This blood-filtering technique removes certain antibodies that contribute to pain and inflammation in your joints and muscles and is usually performed once a week for 12 weeks as an outpatient procedure. Some of the side effects include fatigue and a brief increase in joint pain and swelling for the first few days after the treatment. The Prosorba column treatment isn't recommended if you're taking angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or if you have heart problems, high blood pressure or blood-clotting problems.

* Joint replacement surgery. For many people with rheumatoid arthritis, medicines and therapies can't prevent joint destruction. When joints are severely damaged, joint replacement surgery can often help restore joint function, reduce pain or correct a deformity. You may need to have an entire joint replaced with a metal or plastic prosthesis. Surgery may also involve tightening tendons that are too loose, loosening tendons that are too tight, fusing bones to reduce pain or removing part of a diseased bone to improve mobility. Your doctor may also remove the inflamed joint lining (synovectomy).

More On This Topic

* Steroid use: Balancing the risks and benefits
* Are COX-2 drugs safe for you? An interview with a Mayo Clinic specialist
* Knee replacement: Surgery can relieve pain

Self-care

Treating rheumatoid arthritis typically involves using a combination of medical treatments and self-care strategies. The following self-care procedures are important elements for managing the disease:

* Exercise regularly. Different types of exercise achieve different goals. Check with your doctor or physical therapist first and then begin a regular exercise program for your specific needs. If you can walk, walking is a good starter exercise. If you can't walk, try a stationary bicycle with little or no resistance or do hand or arm exercises. A chair exercise program may be helpful. Aquatic exercise is another option, and many health clubs with pools offer such classes.

It's good to move each joint in its full range of motion every day. As you move, maintain a slow, steady rhythm. Don't jerk or bounce. Also, remember to breathe. Holding your breath can temporarily deprive your muscles of oxygen and tire them. It's also important to maintain good posture while you exercise. Avoid exercising tender, injured or severely inflamed joints. If you feel new joint pain, stop. New pain that lasts more than two hours after you exercise probably means you've overdone it. If pain persists for more than a few days, call your doctor.

* Control your weight. Excess weight puts added stress on joints in your back, hips, knees and feet — the places where arthritis pain is commonly felt. Excess weight can also make joint surgery more difficult and risky.

* Eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet emphasizing fruit, vegetables and whole grains can help you control your weight and maintain your overall health, allowing you to deal better with your arthritis. However, there's no special diet that can be used to treat arthritis. It hasn't been proved that eating any particular food will make your joint pain or inflammation better or worse.

* Apply heat. Heat will help ease your pain, relax tense, painful muscles and increase the regional flow of blood. One of the easiest and most effective ways to apply heat is to take a hot shower or bath for 15 minutes. Other options include using a hot pack, an electric heat pad set on its lowest setting or a radiant heat lamp with a 250-watt reflector heat bulb to warm specific muscles and joints. If your skin has poor sensation or if you have poor circulation, don't use heat treatment.

* Apply cold for occasional flare-ups. Cold may dull the sensation of pain. Cold also has a numbing effect and decreases muscle spasms. Don't use cold treatments if you have poor circulation or numbness. Techniques may include using cold packs, soaking the affected joints in cold water and ice massage.

* Practice relaxation techniques. Hypnosis, guided imagery, deep breathing and muscle relaxation can all be used to control pain.

* Take your medications as recommended. By taking medications regularly instead of waiting for pain to build, you will lessen the overall intensity of your discomfort.

Coping skills

The degree to which rheumatoid arthritis affects your daily activities depends in part on how well you cope with the disease. Physical and occupational therapists can help you devise strategies to cope with specific limitations you may experience as the result of weakness or pain. Here are some general suggestions to help you cope:

* Keep a positive attitude. With your doctor, make a plan for managing your arthritis. This will help you feel in charge of your disease. Studies show that people who take control of their treatment and actively manage their arthritis experience less pain and make fewer visits to the doctor.

* Use assistive devices. A painful knee may need a brace for support. You might also want to use a cane to take some of the stress off the joint as you walk. Use the cane in the hand opposite the affected joint. If your hands are affected, various helpful tools and gadgets are available to help you maintain an active lifestyle. Contact your pharmacy or doctor for information on ordering items that may help you the most.

* Know your limits. Rest when you're tired. Arthritis can make you prone to fatigue and muscle weakness. A rest or short nap that doesn't interfere with nighttime sleep may help.

* Avoid grasping actions that strain your finger joints. Instead of using a clutch purse, for example, select one with a shoulder strap. Use hot water to loosen a jar lid and pressure from your palm to open it, or use a jar opener. Don't twist or use your joints forcefully.

* Spread the weight of an object over several joints. For instance, use both hands to lift a heavy pan.

* Take a break. Periodically relax and stretch.

* Maintain good posture. Poor posture causes uneven weight distribution and may strain ligaments and muscles. The easiest way to improve your posture is by walking. Some people find that swimming also helps improve their posture.

* Use your strongest muscles and favor large joints. Don't push open a heavy glass door. Lean into it. To pick up an object, bend your knees and squat while keeping your back straight.

The Care of Rheumatoid Arthritis

The Care of Rheumatoid Arthritis

There are different forms of arthritis – each painful and possibly debilitating. Often attributed to those of advanced age, arthritis can afflict anyone and can develop for a number of reasons, depending upon the type. Since this particular disease affects the joints, the agility and mobility of the patient can be significantly impacted as it progresses – sometimes to the extent of physical deformity.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease of the immune system which often targets the hands of the patient. In addition to great pain and inflammation of the joints, those who suffer from this form of arthritis will often experience a deformity of the hands and fingers. The disease typically affects both hands simultaneously and can cause exquisite pain, swelling and loss of normal function, in addition to severe deformity.
In broad terms, arthritis refers to inflammation of the joints. Where rheumatoid arthritis is concerned, the actual linings of the joints is what becomes inflamed. This causes the cartilage in the joints to grow and swell, which over long term erodes the joints. This is what causes the very characteristic crippling deformities that occur in the fingers and hands of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers.
People diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis comprise only 1% of the population. (Vast numbers of people who suffer from other types of arthritis.) This disease affects women much more frequently than men. So far, there is no known cure for rheumatoid arthritis. Therefore, the only recognized treatment at this point, is to manage the pain. Doctors prescribe various remedies which depend upon the patient's medical history, overall profile and other related factors.
Of the many types of pain control, oral medications are often used to control the swelling and pain that’s associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Other options include braces and splints – which gird weakened joints and remove excessive pressure from them – and surgery, in more critical cases. The latter option not only aids in reducing pain, but also provides greater mobility and improves the appearance of the hands. These surgeries may consist of a synovectomy, osteomoty or joint replacement.
When diagnosed early enough, there are many steps that can be used to reduce pain and the other consequences of this type of arthritis. So, even though there’s no known cure, if one experiences pain, swelling, or diminished use of the hands, one should contact a doctor immediately. A plan can be outlined to reduce pain, and prepare for future surgery.
No-one should have to live with pain of arthritis, now that so much progress has been made in the field of pain management. The first steps in managing the pain may be as simple as common aspirin or other medications. If they do not work, a doctor will then prescribe medication that specifically targets arthritis pain. But before that can happen,there has to be open communication between the doctor and the patient regarding the pain early in the treatment. So, it is not advisable to suffer quietly in this case.

Your Questions On Canine Hip Dysplasia – Answered.

Your Questions On Canine Hip Dysplasia – Answered.

What is canine hip dysplasia?

Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is one of the most frustrating diseases in veterinary medicine today simply because it is so difficult to prevent and treat. CHD is a developmental disease of the bones in which the head of the thigh bone poorly fits the hip socket, causing damage to the cartilage, gradual destruction of the joint, pain and swelling. This disease should not be confused with hip arthritis. Rather, it is the most common cause of arthritis in the hips.

How is canine hip dysplasia transmitted?

CHD is a heritable disease. It is passed on by the parents to the offspring. The only effective measure therefore to eradicate the disease is to prevent dogs with hip dysplasia from breeding. However, this is easier said than done, because not all dogs with hip dysplasia show signs of the disease. Seemingly normal dogs still carry the gene for CHD and are bred, causing the disease to stay within the genepool.

How does one know if a dog has hip dysplasia?

A dog with hip dysplasia generally has less energy and movement. It has difficulty rising from a sitting position, lameness in the back legs, is hopping like a rabbit when running, and is reluctant to go up the stairs. However, these symptoms are usually not evident till the dog reaches middle age. In extreme cases though, some dogs exhibit obvious hip problems as early as 5-6 months of age.

How does a vet confirm if a dog has hip dysplasia?

Sad to say, there is no blood test or genetic test yet that will detect if a dog is a carrier of CHD or not. Diagnosis of the disease is routinely done through physical examinations and x-rays. X-rays help in assessing how bad the condition is, and through comparison with future x-rays, it can also serve as a gauge of how well the chosen treatment is working. Two techniques for taking x-rays of CHD-afflicted dogs are listed below:

1.hip-extended ventrodorsal view x-ray – It provides a frontal view of the pelvis and hip-joints and best assesses the degree of severity of arthritis present.

2.PennHIP radiography technique – It is used to detect hip looseness in dogs as young as four months of age.

What are the treatment options for canine hip dysplasia?

There is no real cure for CHD just yet, but there are conservative or non-surgical ways to relieve its symptoms. These include the use of drugs to relieve pain and inflammation. Rimadyl, Ectogesic and Deramaxx are effective and have given a lot of suffering dogs the relief needed to live a normal life. Weight loss programs, controlled exercise and physical therapy are also very effective in certain cases.

When conservative treatment is not enough, the only other option is surgery. Surgery can be very effective as it corrects the underlying cause of hip pain which is a malformed joint. Surgery is approached in two different ways when dealing with hip dysplasia. Prophylactic surgery is done to prevent the progression af arthritis while therapeutic surgery aims to treat already arthritic hips.

Triple pelvic osteotomy is the primary preventive procedure available. It involves cutting the pelvis in three places and rotating the hip sockets to provide better coverage. This procedure is effective as long as it is done before arthritis sets in or before the joint is damaged. Another kind of preventive surgery, although still being studied if it is effective or not, is pubic symphysiodesis. This involves manipulating the way the pelvis grows to ensure a tighter hip. This procedure is done on very young dogs.

Therapeutic procedures include total hip replacement and femoral head ostectomy. Total hip replacement is performed mainly on larger dogs. High density, medical plastic is used to replace the socket and a high-quality, non-corrosive alloy is used for the ball. This procedure has a high success rate, almost completely eliminates pain and enables the dog to completely resume activity.

Another therapeutic procedure for hip dysplasia is femoral head ostectomy. It involves the removal of the top of the femur which then eliminates the painful grinding at the hip joint. The femur is then allowed to float freely causing the formation of scar tisue which then serves as a false joint. This procedure is not recommended for mild cases of arthritis and is generally effective only on smaller, well-muscled dogs.

Can canine hip dysplasia be prevented?

The best measure of prevention is of course careful breeding since hip dysplasia is a heritable condition. The onset of hip dysplasia can be delayed in many dogs with a genetic predisposition by preventing excessive weight gain during the early months and by making sure that the puppy does not place undue stress on the hips.

OFA and PennHip offers information on breed risk. Prospective puppy buyers are advised to check for pedigrees for OFA, PennHip or GDC certifications.

Arthritis Medication

Arthritis Medication

Arthritis is a painful condition of the joints that causes swelling and inflammation. It can occur at any time of a person’s life, no matter the gender. As of now, medical science has yet to find a cure to arthritis, but there are several treatment methods available to alleviate the symptoms, the most common of which is pain.

Below are some arthritis medications that have been approved for consumer use:

NSAIDs (Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs)

NSAIDs are the most common arthritis medications, available in most drugstore shelves, supermarket, and even discount or convenient stores. As an over the counter drug, you do not need a physician’s prescription to start using this arthritis medication.

The main purpose of the drug is to reduce pain – from muscles aches and headaches to minor joint pains and fever, all of which are common symptoms of arthritis. In addition to pain reduction, NSAID can also help alleviate joint inflammation.

NSAIDs are available in three basic categories: traditional NSAIDs, COX-2 inhibitors, and salicylates.

Analgesics

Analgesics are like NSAIDs in that they can provide relief for pain. However, that is all that this arthritis medication can do. It cannot reduce inflammation or swelling of the joints. Nevertheless, analgesics are most helpful if, for some reason, the patient cannot take NSAIDs (like if he is allergic to it or suffers stomach problems if he takes that arthritis medication) to help relieve pain.

Biologic Response Modifiers

Most arthritis medications are symptom-specified. That is, they commonly target only the signs and symptoms of arthritis, such as joint pains and inflammation, not the disease itself. However, there is a class of arthritis medications that aim at halting disease progression. They are called biologic response modifiers or BRMs. This class of arthritis medication works in different ways, although all of them have something to do with a protein called cytokines. By inhibiting the production of cytokines, BRMs can effectively stop inflammation.

Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids, more commonly known as steroids, make up some of the oldest and most effective arthritis medication. It is also one of the fastest working. Joints, eyes, and internal organs that have been damaged due to arthritic inflammation can be spared with the application of steroids. Not only that, but there have been many cases where steroids saved lives.

However, this arthritis medication needs to be used properly and sparingly. Because while steroids have the potential to help arthritic patients, they also have the potential to do great harm by causing bones to become brittle, cataracts to occur, and blood sugar levels to elevate.

DMARDs (Disease Modifying Anti Rheumatic Drugs

This is another arthritis medication that targets arthritis as a disease and not just its symptoms. In this aspect, DMARDs are similar to BRMs, which also aims to halt progression of the disease. One key difference is that DMARDs, while effective, work slow and produce gradual results. Some types of this drug, like hydroxychloroquine for instance, may take three or four months before you notice any results. This gives you all the more reason to start it early.

This type of arthritis medication is commonly used for rheumatoid arthritis, as what its name suggests. However, there have been cases where this DMARDs were also used to treat juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spndylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and lupus.

Arthritis Doesn’t Have To Stop You In Your Tracks (2)

Arthritis Doesn't Have To Stop You In Your Tracks

Don't take your time in finding the right treatment for your arthritis, and don't let your unawareness of the condition allow it to overcome you with pain. There are several things that can be done to combat arthritis pain and even target your joint damage so you aren't seeing worse arthritis as time goes on. With the arthritis tips of this article in use, you could even find a balance between wellness and pain management that gives you the break you need.

Ask your pharmacist if any of the arthritis medications you are taking cause fatigue, and if you would be better off taking them before bed. Many arthritis prescriptions do cause lethargy, so it's up to you to find out which ones do cause fatigue and make sure you're taking them at times when they won't affect your daily activities.

Enjoy the occasional alcoholic drink! Some arthritis sufferers think that they should not drink alcohol; research has actually indicated that people with arthritis may benefit from drinking moderate amounts of wine or other beverages. Individuals who do so – tend to have less severe symptoms – than other people who are suffering from arthritis!

If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, always pay attention to what you are eating. Some foods can actually cause arthritis pain in some people. Try using an elimination diet. Remove problem foods from your diet and slowly add them back over time. Dairy and seafood are known to cause allergic reactions which trigger arthritis symptoms.

Watch what you eat – cut down on red meat too. People who follow a Mediterranean diet are less likely to suffer from arthritis. A Mediterranean diet includes fish, cereals, fruits and oils. Make sure you include these important elements in your daily diet and you should see a difference. This will not cure arthritis but should help reduce the pain.

If you experience arthritis pain and you don't want to take medicines to control it, then the best tip to help you reduce pain is to drink a lot of water. Water flushes out toxins of the body and lubricates your joints that will help relieve the pain.

Many people tend to have bad posture and do all sorts of things that wreak havoc on their bodies. When you have arthritis, it is even more important to pay close attention to things like this. You need to make sure you maintain good posture and the correct positioning of your body.

Use musical therapy in order to ease the pain when you are suffering from severe inflammation. While it isn't a permanent fix and is far from medication and serious pain relief, there are studies that have proven classical music and other soothing types of music to be therapeutic when treating pain from arthritis.

Suffering from arthritis pain is no way to live, but millions of people do it every day. Don't let yourself be in pain when there are things you can do to avoid pain, stop the pain, and even avoid further joint damage that can cause the pain to grow in intensity over the years. Stop fighting and start winning the battle against arthritis with these tips in tow.

Align Your Body with a Chiropractic Treatment

Align Your Body with a Chiropractic Treatment

What is Chiropractics?

Chiropractics is a medical system based on the theory that disease and disorders are caused by misaligned bones, especially in the spine, that obstructs proper nerve functions. Chiropractors manually manipulate the joints of the body and realign the spinal column.

Chiropractors are people who diagnose and treat disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. The philosophy of chiropractic medicine believes that skeletal imbalance and joint malfunction, particularly in the area of the spine, can cause pain and other problems. Chiropractors rely on palpitation, pressure, and manual manipulation of the joints and muscles to cure these problems.

Subluxation and chiropractic manipulation

Chiropractors use the term subluxation to depict the altered position of the vertebra and subsequent functional loss, thus determines the location for the manipulative treatment.

Chiropractic kinesiology

Chiropractors often use chiropractic kinesiology to treat structural imbalances and muscle and joint problems. Chiropractic kinesiology is a specific form of diagnosis using functional neurological muscle testing (FNMT) as a primary feedback mechanism to help determine the cause of an individual's chief complaint and to help evaluate our structural, nutritional and mental aspects of health.

Chiropractic treatment is suitable for everyone, including newborn babies, the elderly, pregnant women, and sports enthusiasts. Your chiropractor will help you to maintain your health, and keep your body aligned as it should, and by offering exercise and lifestyle advice for you to follow in the future.

Not all insurance covers chiropractic care. You will need to check with your health care provider. Most chiropractic offices will call and check on your coverage, but it is best to call your health provider prior to your visit.

Chiropractic treatment can be ongoing. You may achieve a degree of comfort after your treatments, but misalignment of joints can sometimes be reoccurring.

Arthritis Treatment

Arthritis Treatment

No matter whom you are or how old, arthritis can strike you at any time. Arthritis is a complex condition that causes painful inflammation of the joints. It affects a lot of people – one out of three suffers joint pains due to arthritis.

There are actually several types, the most common being osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis causes the joints to become stiff and swollen, which, when moved, results in pain. In extreme cases, it becomes too painful to move that the person’s mobility is compromised, leading to further disability.

Treating Arthritis

Many studies have been made concerning arthritis treatment. However, there are many misconceptions about this disease, one of them being that arthritis is just something that “you have to learn to live with.” And because of that, many sufferers never seek appropriate arthritis treatment and medical care.

While arthritis can be an extremely debilitating disease, correct arthritis treatment can help ease the pain and prevent further damage. There is, however, no cure for arthritis yet, in the way that there is no cure for diabetes or hypertension. But there are still several effective arthritis treatments available that you can take.

Here are some of them:

NSAIDs

NSAIDs are Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs, medications used as arthritis treatment, particularly in providing pain relief for the patient. Among the drugs within this group are naproxen, ibuprofen, piroxicam, diclofenac, ketoprofen, and indomethacin.

These drugs are often among the first arthritis treatments that doctors prescribe to patients since their main function is to reduce pain. It does not however treat the problem itself. There have been reports about side-effects, such as irritation of the stomach lining, ulcers, and indigestion, so it is advised that you take NSAID with anti ulcer tablets.

Over-the-Counter Drugs

A common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis is often manageable with such arthritis treatments as over-the-counter drugs. The drugs include simple analgesics, combination analgesics, topical anti inflammatories, rubefacients, and glucosamine. This kind of arthritis treatment is taken orally and in moderation in order to avoid any unpleasant side effects. As for topical anti inflammatories, this arthritis treatment is absorbed by the body through the skin and enters the blood stream, so it is recommended you take the same precautions.

Topical Herbal Remedies

A traditional way of administering arthritis treatment is through herbal remedies. These traditional remedies are often applied topically, usually rubbed into the skin so they are absorbed into the blood stream. Some of these arthritis treatment remedies have skin-warming ingredients while others act more like anesthetics or pain killers.

One good example of an herb that can be used in arthritis treatment is capsaicin. This is a pungent chemical found in red peppers and is available commercially in cream form. The chemical acts particularly on pain and inflammation nerves, thus, helping ease the pain.

Nettle can also be a good substitute for capsaicin as an arthritis treatment. Usually, the leaves of the plant are extracted and turned into a rubbing solution to help relive the pain of arthritis. While it is not know how nettles work, it is believed that the plant contains certain active ingredients that could affect the pain perception and transmission at the nerve endings.

Arthritis Basics

Arthritis Basics

Maybe pain occurs, like when trying to open a jar. What’s it all about? Let’s look at the basics and learn more.

Arthritis actually means “joint inflammation” and has over 100 related conditions or type / forms of disease. Left untreated, it can advance, resulting in joint damage that cannot be undone or reversed. So early detection and treatment are important.

The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Although both have similar symptoms, both happen for different reasons. When joints are overused and misused, the results can be OA. What happens is that the cushioning cartilage that protects the joint breaks down, resulting in the bones rubbing together. This generally happens in the knees, but can be found in the hips, spine and hands often, too. And only in later stages will a person most often feel pain, after quite a bit of cartilage is lost.

The second type, RA, refers to the body’s immune system attacking joint tissue. Still not fully understood in the medical community, this condition most often starts in a person’s hands, wrists and feet. Then it advances to shoulders, elbows and hips.

Similar symptoms include pain, stiffness, fatigue, weakness, slight fever and inflamed tissue lumps under the skin. And both OA and RA generally develop symmetrically, i.e. affecting the same joints on both the left and right sides of the body.

A difference in OA and RA to note is with swelling. With RA, people report “soft and squishy” swelling. While with OA, people report “hard and bony” swelling. Another difference is that a person is more likely to develop RA if a sibling or parent had it. While a person with a history of joint damage, either an injury or chronic strain, runs a higher risk for developing OA.

There is no specific age for arthritis sufferers. While it can affect every age group, it seems to focus on those over 45 years of age.And while neither gender is immune, a reported 74 percent of OA cases (or just over 15 million) occur with women and a slightly lower percentage of RA cases occur with women. People with excess weight tend to develop OA, especially in the knees when reaching over 45 years of age. However, losing weight can turn the odds around almost by half. Regular activity combined with exercise also reduces risk, strengthening joint muscles and reducing joint wear.

Although there are no cure-alls for arthritis, there are a variety of pain relief treatment strategies. Aside from medications, remedies, replacement alternatives and other helpful treatment options and alternatives, the four main arthritis relief aids are gentle exercise, good nutrition, a positive attitude and rest. And each will be discussed further in subsequent sections, because education can play a huge role to dispel “old wives tales” and myths that “nothing can be done about arthritis.” Notable is that today, only a small percentage of those afflicted with arthritis become crippled. And most never need canes, wheelchairs, or other ambulatory devices.

Also note if you suspect you may have arthritis, it is advisable to seek medical advice. Because healthcare providers can help to determine if the symptoms are not something else like a virus or tendonitis or other similar problem that cold potentially worsen if left untreated.

Types Of Arthritis

There are many ways to effectively manage arthritic pain today to find relief. Available are arthritic diets, exercise programs, over-the-counter and prescription medications, relaxation and positive emotion coping techniques. Also available are surgeries, supplements, home remedies, natural and other alternative therapies. When arthritis is first suspected, it would be wise to seek a medical opinion first. Then as time and resources allow, check out the other options.

After osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), three other major types of arthritis are systemic lupus erythematosis, ankylosing spondylitis and gout. Let’s take a look at each:

Systemic Lupus Erythematosis (SLE) – This form of arthritis mainly affects women. It develops in the skin, internal organs and joints.

Ankylosing Spondylitis – This form or arthritis affects the spine and can also affect the ankles, knees, lungs, heart, shoulders and eyes.

Gout – This is a painful affliction mainly for men, about one million of them in the United States alone. Uric acid build up, due to an internal chemical malfunction, forms crystals that get stuck in a joint, generally the big toe, and become inflamed.

Science Of Arthritis

Joints can handle some heavy pressure. For example, knees handle a force of three to four times a person’s total body weight on average just talking a walk. The force of a deep knee bend during a squat can increase to nine times the body weight. So just imagine multiplying weight of more than 150 pounds times a minimum of three or four, and then even more. That can sure add up to a lot of heavy work on knee joints over time.

Now for the science of this scenario. Where two bones meet, called the joint, the bone ends are covered with cartilage, also known as gristl

This cartilage is sturdy, elastic and spongy or compressible, and keeps the bones from moving against each other at the joint. The cells of this cartilage, called chondrocytes, are thought to be the longest living cells of the body. Surrounding the bones and cartilage is strong, fibrous capsule lined with synovium, a thin membrane that lubricates the joint area with fluid. The end result is less friction or smoother rubbing together of the bones. This fluid also feds the cartilage cells, keeping them healthy, and is “pumped” into them during joint movement. Thus lack of movement (activity / exercise) can be unhealthy.

Other parts of the body features involved with this arthritic scenario include muscles, tendons, ligaments, bursea and mental activity. Muscles, attached to bones with tendons and ligaments, move bones by contracting. They also cushion movement, absorbing impact or shock. Throughout the muscle and tendon areas are bursae or sacs filled with fluid. These also help cushion movement. And throughout all the coordination of these parts during movement, the brain is a part. The brain communicates via nerves throughout the body, in particular the muscles for this scenario, to prepare joints for activity.

The exact science of what actually causes arthritis is still being researched. For most of the 100-plus forms of arthritis, the causes are unknown. Injury, overuse of joints and mechanical issues with joints (like skeletal abnormalities, worn out joint muscles) can lead to arthritis. And many point to issues relating to bacteria and germs as some of the problem. Heredity, stress, drugs, food allergies and viruses have also been linked to some forms of arthritis. So have diet, poor circulation and lack of movement.

INFLAMMATION
Arthritic joints can be affected with inflammation when bacteria or a virus (or other undesirable element) enters the joint area or when an injury occurs. What happens is when foreign matter enters this area or the area sustains injury, white blood cells, antibodies and other natural “fighting” mechanisms automatically kick in internally to help. These fighters cause swelling, redness and heat as the body fluid moves around. Symptoms of inflammation, one of the uncomfortable issues associated with arthritis, are redness, swelling and tender joints.

Arthritis And The Aging Population, How To Cope

Joint inflammation And Also The Aging Population, Just How To Cope

Arthritis is an infamous joint ailment that is actually known to create ache as well as swelling to anybody that is unlucky sufficient to acquire it. Arthritis can be brought on by many points, including grow older, joint trauma, or autoimmune responses. Review the observing article for pointers on how to fight arthritis.

If you are annoying using a certain sort of drug your doctor recommends, or even if you feel that a particular kind of treatment is just not right for you, make sure to speak up and inform your medical professional. There are plenty of selections accessible in arthritis treatment. Your program of therapy should suit you flawlessly.

As simple as it might appear, it is crucial that you bend your muscle mass at the very least one an hour, if you deal with joint inflammation. Sitting or standing in one area for very lengthy may induce your junctions to constrain up and offer you discomfort. For 5 minutes, depend on one foot, with the other risen versus the wall structure and afterwards, change feet.

Consuming alcoholic drinks can assist with your indicators. Booze is actually not a remedy and also must not be actually violated, however people who eat alcoholic drinks on a regular basis carry out certainly not suffer from arthritis as high as individuals that perform not drink. You can drink a small glass of red wine in addition to your meals, for example.

To help enhance your arthritis symptoms, try utilizing vitamins to assist alleviate the health condition. Consistently get in touch with your pharmacologist or physician before starting any kind of vitamin program. Several vitamins can trigger serious adverse effects when utilized while taking particular medicines. Blending supplements, or taking too much may likewise have negative results.

It is very important that you have enough calcium mineral in your diet regimen if you struggle with joint inflammation. Health care investigation has shown that inflammatory arthritis health conditions are actually much worse if a person carries out certainly not possess enough calcium mineral in their diet. You may locate calcium mineral in several meals, featuring dairy, cheese, and gelato.

Find a leisure activity that you can simply conduct. Lots of folks that deal with arthritis spend their times wishing they possessed something they can actually do, and also you may avoid this monotony through seeking your very own brand-new hobby. Whether it is repainting or even dancing, having one thing to get you relocating will maintain you well-balanced.

When you are detected with arthritis, your medical professional will certainly give you a procedure program which will combine several traits, consisting of diet plan as well as workout. It is crucial to familiarize your own self with this plan and implement it daily. As you perform, there will be things you will certainly add to the planning or traits that will certainly transform depending on to what your body system needs.

Make certain to obtain enough workout and that you are carrying out the ideal type of exercise. Individuals along with arthritis must decide on workouts that sustain and build up the junctions, like going swimming, as opposed to exercises that ruin all of them, like running. Stopping working to exercise can additionally boost joint stiffness and also discomfort.

In conclusion, anyone who is unfavorable to acquire joint inflammation knows that it creates unbearable ache as well as irritation in the junctions. Once more, there are actually various causes for the disorder, such as grow older, trauma, as well as autoimmune responses, each leading to a different sort of joint inflammation. Utilize the suggestions from the above post to eliminate arthritis in your body.

Arthritis Knee Braces

Arthritis Knee Braces

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), the knee joint is where three bones meet: the femur (lower end of the thigh bone), the tibia (upper end of the shinbone) and the patella (knee cap). Cartilage, tendons, and ligaments form the other parts of the knee, making it the largest joint in the body.

You require the help of the knee when you jump, when you stand, when you run, when you pivot, and when you do a lot more activities. So imagine a life where your use of the knees is limited because of some form of debilitating disease such as arthritis.

 

 

Arthritis is a complex disorder that affects the joints of the body, including the knees, causing pain and inflammation. In common forms of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis, the cartilage undergoes degeneration, causing the knee to lose the cushioning that this piece of tissue provides to prevent friction where the bones meet at the joints. As a result of this, the joints become irritated, inflamed, and painful.

 

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) states that the knee is one of the most easily injured joints in the human body. In fact, according to AAOS, almost 11 million people visit the clinic every year because of problems with the knee. In addition, about 6 million, or more than half of those, see orthopaedic surgeons who do more work on the knees than on any other part of the body.

However, having arthritis of the knees is unlike any joint injury you may suffer. The disease is often irreversible (for how could you grow back a cartilage after it is lost?). In addition, the pain could go worse over time, so much so that a person could get crippled as a result.

Fortunately for patients suffering from arthritis of the knees, modern science provides a set of treatment methods that can be applied in order to prevent further damage to the knees and minimize the pain. Arthritis knee braces is only one of the ingenious products that scientists have come up.

Arthritis knee braces are also known as “unloader” braces. That is because the chief function of these arthritis knee braces is to reduce the weight that you place on your knees. So basically, arthritis knee braces are highly specialized braces that would reduce the pressure on your knee joints.

When a person has arthritis, the joints are the ones that take the beating. Continued wear and tear through constant use of these joints (which is unavoidable, considering) could only make the disease worse. As there is no cure, patients are usually left with no solution to help them overcome their problem, besides somehow relieving the pain by taking drugs. However, with the invention of arthritis knee braces, arthritic patients now have a chance to enjoy life to the fullest without suffering the confines of their disease.

Arthritis knee braces are corrective. It has been observed that patients with osteoarthritic knees develop a condition characterized by a deformity of the legs, causing them to curve outwards, commonly referred to as “bow legged.” By using arthritis knee braces, you can correct this condition and at the same time protect the knee joint from further damage.