What You Need to Know about Arthritis

Arthritis signals people in a variety of ways. Joints might crack when you suddenly stand up or move. Other joints may be stiff and creak. Maybe pain occurs, when you’re trying to open a jar, or type on your keyboard.

Arthritis means “joint inflammation” and has over 100 related conditions or types of disease. Untreated, it can advance, resulting in joint damage that is difficult to undo or reverse. So early detection and treatment are important.

The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Although both have similar symptoms, both happen for different reasons. When joints are overused and misused, this results in OA. What happens is the cushioning cartilage that protects the joints breaks down, resulting in bones rubbing together. This generally happens in the knees, but can be found in the hips, spine and hands.

In RA the body’s immune system attacks joint tissue. Still not fully understood by doctors, this condition often starts in a person’s hands, wrists and feet. Then it advances to shoulders, elbows and hips.

Similar symptoms include pain, stiffness, fatigue, weakness, slight fever and inflamed tissue lumps under the skin. And both OA and RA generally develop symmetrically, i.e. affecting the same joints on both the left and right sides of the body.

A difference in OA and RA is in the way you swell. With RA, people report “soft and squishy” swelling. While with OA, people report “hard and bony” swelling.

Another difference is you are likely to develop RA if a sibling or parent had it. If you have a history of joint damage, either an injury or chronic strain, you run a higher risk for developing OA.

There is no specific age for arthritis sufferers. While it can affect every age group, it seems to occur more frequently on those over 45 years.

And while neither gender is immune, a reported 74 percent of OA cases and a slightly lower percentage of RA cases occur with women.

People with excess weight tend to develop OA, especially in the knees when reaching over 45 years. However, losing weight can turn the odds around almost by half. Regular activity combined with exercise also reduces risk of OA

Although there are no cure-alls for arthritis, there are a variety of pain relief treatment strategies. Aside from medications, remedies, replacement alternatives and other helpful treatment options and alternatives, the five main arthritis relief aids are gentle exercise, good nutrition, special herbal and other nutrients, a positive attitude and rest.

Today, only a small percentage of those afflicted with arthritis become crippled. And most never need canes, wheelchairs, or other ambulatory devices.

If you suspect you may have arthritis, it is advisable to seek medical advice from your doctor or alternative practitioner. Look to reduce pain and inflammation using natural remedies before you decide on using doctor prescribed drugs.

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