Arthritis is the number one cause of disability in America. It is so common that 1 in 5 people over the age of 18 suffers from it. But, do you have enough information to spot it and find proper treatment? Below you will find a comprehensive overview of this common condition.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis refers to any joint pain or joint disease caused by recurring inflammation and stiffness of the joints. The difference between arthritis and your body’s natural inflammation in response to disease or injury is the swelling of the joints associated with arthritis can last for a very long time and it is recurring, which can cause damage to the tissue over time.
If arthritis is left untreated, it can cause the affected joints to lose their normal shape, which makes movement more painful and limits the range of motion.
Arthritis can affect any joint in the body, but it is most common in joints of the hands, wrists, knees, and feet. Anyone can develop arthritis, but the risk increases with age.
There are different types of arthritis, each with its own set of symptoms and causes. The types of arthritis are degenerative or osteoarthritis, inflammatory arthritis, infectious arthritis, and metabolic arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and it usually affects some of the most important joints, like the wrist, hand, and finger joints.
Symptoms of Arthritis
While each type of arthritis has its own symptoms, the main indicators of arthritis are pain and swelling in one or more joints, joints that appear red or feel warm to the touch, joints that are tender or stiff, joint pain or stiffness that lasts 3 or more consecutive days, and multiple episodes of joint pain over the course of a month.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Arthritis
Arthritis in the hands can be challenging for a general physician because the symptoms may resemble other conditions, or may come and go over time. Some people also present symptoms that might seem completely unrelated like fatigue or rash. Visiting a trained hand specialist, like the Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas, if you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above is a better way to ensure that you get a proper diagnosis and course of treatment.
When it comes to the treatment of arthritis, the sooner you start the better. Prompt treatment is necessary to avoid any permanent joint damage. The best thing to do is visit a specialist to obtain a recommended course of treatment that addresses your particular type of arthritis. A specialist will also be able to recommend certain remedies to prevent and deal with arthritis flares.
There is no sure way to prevent the development of arthritis. However, there are things you can do in your daily life to decrease the chances of developing this condition, such as maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding excessive repetitive movements, balancing activity with rest, maintaining a healthy immune system, performing range-of-motion exercises to help keep the joints flexible, and avoiding injury to joints.
If you think you may be experiencing arthritis symptoms, contact the Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas for proper diagnosis and treatment. Make an appointment today!