Arthritis

Specialty of Rheumatology

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is a disease that causes inflammation of the membrane that covers the joints. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, but the most common are:

  • Osteoarthritis: the most common type of arthritis. It usually starts with age and affects the fingers, knees and hips. In some cases, it develops in areas where there was a previous hit or injury.
  • Inflammatory arthritis: There are many types of inflammatory arthritis, the most common of which is rheumatoid arthritis, which occurs when the body's defenses do not work properly. It affects both joints and bones, often in the hands and feet.

What are the symptoms of arthritis?

The symptoms of arthritis can be:

  • Joint pain
  • Joint inflammation
  • Redness and heat of the skin around the joint
  • Decreased ability to move the joint
  • Joint stiffness, especially in the morning

What are the causes of arthritis?

This pathology can be a consequence of:

  • Bone fracture
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Infection by bacteria or viruses
  • Joint wear
  • Crystals (such as uric acid or calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate)

Can arthritis be prevented?

Joint damage can be prevented with timely and adequate diagnosis and treatment. Also, if someone has a family history it is important to talk with the doctor, even if s/he does not have any symptoms. It is also recommended to avoid repetitive and excessive movements to prevent osteoarthritis.

What is the treatment for arthritis?

The treatment aims to alleviate the symptoms and prevent the disease from getting worse. The treatment can be covered by several aspects:

  • Lifestyle changes: this is the preferred treatment, since exercises help to reduce pain and fatigue, relieve stiffness and improve muscle and bone strength. The doctor can also recommend physiotherapy. Other measures may include sleeping 8-10 hours a day, not staying in the same position for a long time, eating a healthy diet, avoiding alcohol and tobacco, among others.
  • Medicine: can be added to the changes in lifestyle.
  • Surgery: is performed if the other treatment methods have not worked. The main intervention is arthroplasty, which consists of replacing the affected joint with an artificial one.
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