What is arthritis?

Arthritis is a disease of the joints that is characterized by inflammation. A joint is where two bones connect. Joints provide the movement of the bones that connect in the joint.

Arthritis literally means inflammation of one or several joints. Arthritis is often accompanied by joint pain. The medical name for joint pain is atralgia.

Arthritis is one of the rheumatic diseases. These are different types of diseases that are similar in that they affect joints, muscles, tendons and cartilage, and most of them also affect other internal organs.

There are many forms of arthritis – so far, medical science has identified over 100 types of arthritis.

The more common ones are osteoarthritis – associated with wear and tear of cartilage and rheumatoid arthritis – inflammation caused by an overactive immune system.

What are the symptoms of arthritis?

Symptoms of arthritis are pain and reduced joint function. Joint inflammation from arthritis causes joint stiffness, swelling, redness and warmth of the skin around the joint.

Not so often the joint is hypersensitive to touch. In some forms of arthritis, the tendons around the joints are painful and inflamed.

Most of the forms of arthritis, being in the group of rheumatic diseases, cause the manifestation of symptoms in other organs of the body, which are not directly related to the joints. Therefore, in some types of arthritis, the symptoms can be:

  • Increased body temperature and swelling of some lymph nodes;
  • Unexplained weight loss, fatigue and disorders;
  • Symptoms of lung, heart and kidney problems.

What are the causes?

Causes can be an injury that it can trigger degenerative arthritis, metabolic disorders – gout and pseudogout, hereditary predisposition – osteoarthritis, infection such as Lyme disease arthritis and an overactive immune system such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus. Treatment targets the underlying cause of the arthritis.

Treatment of arthritis

In arthritis with minimal or no symptoms, no treatment is necessary. However, when severe pain occurs, therapy with pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory drugs should be started.

Warm or cold compresses are very helpful, and also some gels such as fastumgel also relieve pain.

To begin with, gels and compresses are used. In osteoarthritis, glucosamine and chondroitin supplements are helpful, but not enough clinical testing has been done to show that these supplements repair cartilage.

Other nutritional supplements such as fish oil have anti-inflammatory properties. It has also been shown that increasing fish consumption or taking fish oil tablets can reduce inflammation in arthritis. Being overweight has long been known to be a risk factor for knee arthritis.

Weight reduction is recommended for people who are overweight and have early symptoms of arthritis in the hands, as they are at risk of developing arthritis in the knees as well.

Some people get significant pain relief by dipping their hands in hot paraffin wax in the morning.

Some forms of arthritis such as gout respond to changes in diet and the type of food consumed.

How can we protect ourselves?

Preventing arthritis and maintaining optimal health are important goals we can achieve by taking good care of our bodies.

Arthritis, as a general term, encompasses a large number of different joint diseases that can affect people of any age and social structure.

This makes preventing arthritis an important part of maintaining quality of life and longevity.

One of the most effective strategies for preventing arthritis is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Regular physical exercise is a key element in this strategy.

Light cardio such as walking, swimming or cycling can help maintain healthy joints and muscle mass.

Strength training can also be beneficial as it strengthens muscles and stabilizes joints, reducing the risk of injury and developing arthritis.

A balanced diet is also critical to maintaining joint health. Including a variety of foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals can help reduce inflammation in the body.

Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids has a proven anti-inflammatory effect and can help maintain healthy joints.

Limiting your consumption of processed foods and sugar can also contribute to optimal joint function.

It is also important to maintain a healthy weight, as excess weight puts extra stress on the joints, which can contribute to the development of arthritis.

Regular check-ups and consultations with a doctor are also important to monitor the condition of the joints and take timely measures if any problems are detected.

In conclusion, preventing arthritis is possible by maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and regular medical checkups.

By combining these strategies, we can increase our chances of maintaining long-term joint health and quality of life.

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