One of the leading causes of disability in the U.S. is arthritis, affecting more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children. It is a highly complex disease with multiple symptoms that make finding relief difficult. While there is no one size fits all cure for arthritis, with proper care it is possible to manage the symptoms of arthritis successfully.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a broad term used to describe the symptoms of joint pain or joint disease. It refers to inflammation of the joints and can affect one or multiple joints in the body. Commonly, it results from wear and tear on the cartilage that protects the joints or from an autoimmune disorder that attacks the cartilage.
Types of Arthritis
There are more than 100 manifestations of arthritis with 4 main classification categories:
*Degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis) – the cartilage protecting the bone wears away.
*Inflammatory arthritis (rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis) – the immune system malfunctions and attacks the cartilage and joints, causing erosion.
*Infectious arthritis – a virus, bacterium, or fungus enters the joint, causing inflammation.
*Metabolic arthritis – high levels of uric acid form sharp crystals in the joints.
Typically, people experience pain, swelling, stiffness and decreased range of motion. The intensity ranges from mild to severe. The symptoms may be intermittent. They may remain the same over many years or progressively worsen over time. Because every case of arthritis manifests differently, the symptoms also are unique to each patient.
Depending on the severity and type of arthritis, it can be treated in a variety of ways. Prescription medications, proper exercise, a healthy diet, weight management or even joint replacement surgery are some commonly used treatment methods.
If you are experiencing pain caused by arthritis, please contact us at Virginia Orthopaedic at (540) 444-4020 or request an online appointment. Our orthopaedists and orthopaedic surgeons are board certified and are always here to help you manage your arthritis symptoms.