There are over 100 different forms of arthritis.
Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the US. More than 20 million individuals with arthritis have severe limitations in function on a daily basis. Absenteeism and frequent visits to the physician are common in individuals who have arthritis. Arthritis makes it very difficult for individuals to be physically active and some become home bound.
It is estimated that the total cost of arthritis cases is clost to $100 billion of which nearly 50% is from lost earnings. Each year, arthritis results in nearly 1 million hospitalizations and close to 45 million outpatient visits to health care centers.
Arthritis can make it very difficult for an individual to remain physically active, contributing to an increased risk of obesity, high cholesterol or vulnerability to heart disease. Individuals with arthritis are also at increased risk of depression, which may be related to fear of worsening symptoms.
Medications can help reduce inflammation in the joint which decreases pain. Moreover, by decreasing inflammation, the joint damage may be slowed.
Swelling in one or more joints
Stiffness around the joints
Constant or recurring pain or tenderness in a joint
Difficulty using or moving a joint normally
Warmth and redness in a joint.
In general, studies have shown that physical exercise of the affected joint can have noticeable improvement in terms of long-term pain relief. Furthermore, exercise of the arthritic joint is encouraged to maintain the health of the particular joint and the overall body of the person.
Individuals with arthritis can benefit from both physical and occupational therapy. In arthritis the joints become stiff and the range of movement can be limited. Physical therapy have been shown to significantly improve function, decrease pain, and delay need for surgical intervention in advanced cases. Exercise prescribed by a physical thereapist has been shown to be more effective than medications in treating osteoarthritis of the knee. Exercise often focuses on improving muscle strength, endurance and flexibility. In some cases, exercises may be designed to train balance. Occupational therapy can provide assistance with activities as well as equipment.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Causes redness, warmth, and swelling of joints. It usually affects the same joint on both sides of the body. It causes a general feeling of sickness, fatigue, weight loss and fever. Someone may develop the condition suddenly, within weeks or months and most often affects people between the ages of 25 and 50.
Is a chronic disorder that causes pain throughout the tissues that support and move the bones and joints. Pain, stiffness and localized tender points occur in the muscles and tendons, particularly those of the spine, shoulders, and hips. Patients may also experience fatigue and sleep disturbances.
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
Most common form or arthritis in children that causes pain, stiffness, swelling ad impaired function of the joints. May be associated with rashes or fevers; and may affect various parts of the body.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Also known as Lupus or SLE. It can result in inflammation of and damage to the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels and brain.