Arthritis is a general term that refers to inflammation of the joints. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, and it can affect people of all ages. The two most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis (OA): This is the most common form of arthritis and is often associated with aging. It occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones wears down over time. As a result, bones can rub against each other, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): This is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the synovium (the lining of the membranes that surround the joints). This can lead to inflammation, pain, and eventually joint damage. Unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis can affect people of any age.
Common symptoms of arthritis include joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and decreased range of motion. The symptoms can range from mild to severe and can come and go. In some cases, arthritis can cause permanent joint changes.
Treatment for arthritis aims to control symptoms, minimize joint damage, and improve or maintain quality of life. Treatment options may include medications, physical therapy, lifestyle modifications, and in some cases, surgery. It’s important for individuals with arthritis to work closely with their healthcare providers to develop a personalized treatment plan.
In addition to medical treatment, lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy weight, staying physically active, and protecting the joints from excessive stress can also help manage arthritis symptoms. If you suspect you have arthritis or are experiencing joint pain, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and appropriate management.