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What Is Arthritis?

Types of Arthritis

Symptoms of Arthritis

What Causes Arthritis?

Diagnosis of Arthritis

Treatment of Arthritis

Prevention of Arthritis

What Is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a joint disorder that causes the inflammation of one or more joints leading to pain. It is an umbrella term for over 100 different forms of joint disorder. Each form of arthritis comes with its own set of complications, causes and prognosis. The most common forms of this condition are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis. Other common types include psoriatic arthritis, (associated with conditions), gout (deposition of uric acid), etc. Almost 50 million people around the world are affected by one or another form of arthritis.

Types of Arthritis

Broadly speaking, there are two types of arthritis: Inflammatory and Non-inflammatory.

Non-inflammatory Arthritis

Osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and back ache are the common forms of non-inflammatory arthritis.

Symptoms of Arthritis

Regardless of the type, arthritis causes pain and limits your range of movement.

The pains last for more than a week

You experience unexplained joint pain usually accompanied with fever

You experience difficulty in carrying out daily chores due to joint pain

Your joint pain isn’t cured by pain killers

There is swelling and stiffness in the joints

What Causes Arthritis?

The trigger behind arthritis varies depending on the form of this condition. Moreover, a combination of factors can be the culprit behind this joint disorder. Here are some of the common factors that contribute to most forms of arthritis. The contributing factors behind arthritis include:

Injury- It may cause degenerative arthritis

Abnormal metabolism-It leads to gout

Genetic predisposition-It increases your risk of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis

Infections-such as in the arthritis of Lyme disease

Immune System Dysfunction-It leads to rheumatoid arthritis


Obesity-It leads to degeneration of bones

Age-Your risk increases with age

Gender-Women are more vulnerable to arthritis than men.

Professions that demand long hours of sitting.

Diagnosis of Arthritis

The diagnosis will be based on your symptoms and the location of inflammation. The tests include blood examination, and X-ray findings, MRI scan, CT scan, synovial fluid analysis and/or a urine test. You may have to visit your doctor several times before he can rule out other causes and confirm the diagnosis. If not diagnosed and treated early, arthritis can be a debilitating disorder.

Treatment of Arthritis

The type of arthritis decides your treatment options. Curative methods may include medications, physiotherapy, exercise, weight control and orthopaedic bracing. Eroding forms of arthritis may require joint replacement surgery. Medicines are advised to reduce inflammation and pain in the joint. There is no permanent cure for arthritis.


Doctors generally prescribe pain killers, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and steroids. Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are also suggested to suppress underlying inflammatory diseases. Biologic drugs are used in treating rheumatoid arthritis or when DMARDs are ineffective.


It involves special exercises that you do in a warm-water pool.


Due to pain, you will often avoid moving the affected joint. A physiotherapist can help you work out the joint stiffness without damaging it.

Occupational therapy

It promotes health and well-being by teaching you how to reduce the strain on your joints during your daily activities. Your home and workplace may be modified by your occupational therapist so that you can move about without worsening your arthritis.


It is usually recommended when other treatment options fail and the damage to your joints is severe enough to affect your functionality. Surgery can either be pain-relieving or reconstructive. Surgical interventions include replacing a badly damaged joint with an artificial joint, removing the inflamed lining of the joint cavity, releasing trapped nerves or fusing a joint to make it more stable. The most common form of surgery for arthritis is joint replacement.

Prevention of Arthritis

Some forms of this joint disorder cannot actually be prevented because they are the results of non-modifiable factors like age, genes and gender. However, a few habits may reduce your risk of arthritis:

Maintain a healthy body weight

Your knees bear the most of your weight. So, being overweight will hurt them the most and lead to erosion of the joint. Regular workout is the key to keeping off the extra kilos and strengthen your muscles and joints. Follow a routine that combines aerobic workouts, strength training exercises, and light stretches.

Keep injuries at bay

Degeneration of joints is a natural phenomenon of ageing. But this process becomes faster when your bones are injured and cartilage damaged. To reduce your risk of injury, use adequate safety equipment if you are involved in any kind of sport. Learn the right techniques while exercising.

Pay attention to your posture

The posture that you use while sitting, standing or lifting weights determines the health of your bones and muscles to a large extent. While picking up an object, keep it close to your body and lift your knees and hips instead of your back. This will make sure that your back muscles and wrists are not strained. Also, while sitting for long hours, your back, legs and hands should be supported well.

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