July 31, 2017

Rheumatoid Arthritis vs Osteoarthritis

What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is inflammation of one or more of your joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

What are the symptoms of arthritis ?
The most common signs and symptoms of arthritis involve the joints. Depending on the type of arthritis you have, your signs and symptoms may include:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Decreased range of motion

What are some causes of Arthritis ?

The two main types of arthritis are :

Osteoarthritis : The most common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis involves wear-and-tear damage to your joint’s cartilage. Enough damage can result in bone grinding directly on bone, which causes pain and restricted movement. This wear and tear can occur over many years, or it can be hastened by a joint injury or infection.

Rheumatoid Arthritis : In rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system attacks the lining of the joint capsule, a tough membrane that encloses all the joint parts. This lining, known as the synovial membrane, becomes inflamed and swollen. The disease process can eventually destroy cartilage and bone within the joint.

What are the risk factors for Arthritis ?

Risk factors for arthritis include:

Family history : Some types of arthritis run in families, so you may be more likely to develop arthritis if your parents or siblings have the disorder.

Age : The risk of many types of arthritis increases with age.

Your sex : Women are more likely than are men to develop rheumatoid arthritis, while Gouty arthritis.

Previous joint injury : People who have injured a joint, perhaps while playing a sport, are more likely to eventually develop arthritis in that joint.

Obesity : Carrying excess pounds puts stress on joints, particularly your knees, hips and spine. Obese people have a higher risk of developing arthritis.

What are the complications of Arthritis ?

Severe arthritis, particularly if it affects your hands or arms, can make it difficult for you to do daily tasks. Arthritis of weight-bearing joints can keep you from walking comfortably or sitting up straight. In some cases, joints may become twisted and deformed.

How is arthritis diagnosed ?

During the physical exam, your doctor will check your joints for swelling, redness and warmth. Depending on the type of arthritis suspected, your doctor may suggest some of the following tests.

Laboratory Tests : The analysis of different types of body fluids can help pinpoint the type of arthritis you may have. Fluids commonly analyzed include blood, urine and joint fluid.

Imaging :

These types of tests can detect problems within your joint that may be causing your symptoms. Examples include :

X-rays : X-rays can show cartilage loss, bone damage and bone spurs. X-rays may not reveal early arthritic damage, but they are often used to track progression of the disease.

Computerized tomography (CT) : CTs can visualize both bone and the surrounding soft tissues.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) : MRI can produce more-detailed cross-sectional images of soft tissues such as cartilage, tendons and ligaments.

How is Arthritis treated ?

Medications : 

Commonly used arthritis medications include :

Analgesics : These medications help reduce pain, but have little effect on inflammation.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) : NSAIDs reduce both pain and inflammation. Oral NSAIDs can cause stomach irritation, and some may increase your risk of heart attack or stroke. Some NSAIDs are also available as creams or gels, which can be rubbed on joints.

Topical agents : Some varieties of creams and ointments contain menthol or capsaicin, the ingredient that makes hot peppers spicy. Rubbing these preparations on the skin help with pain.

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) : Often used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, DMARDs slow or stop your immune system from attacking your joints.

Biologic response modifiers : Typically used in conjunction with DMARDs, biologic response modifiers are genetically engineered drugs that target various protein molecules that are involved in the immune response. Examples include etanercept (Enbrel) and infliximab (Remicade).

Corticosteroids : This class of drug, which includes prednisone and cortisone, reduces inflammation and suppresses the immune system. Corticosteroids can be taken orally or be injected directly into the painful joint.

Physical Therapy :

Physical therapy can be helpful for some types of arthritis. Exercises can improve range of motion and strengthen the muscles surrounding joints.

Surgery : 

If conservative measures don’t help, your doctor may suggest surgery, such as:

Joint repair : These types of procedures can often be performed arthroscopically through small incisions over the joint.

Joint replacement : This procedure removes your damaged joint and replaces it with an artificial one.

What is the role of home remedies in treating Arthritis ?

Many people use alternative remedies for arthritis. The most promising alternative remedies for arthritis include, Acupuncture, Glucosamine, Yoga or tai chi and Massage.

Do you have Arthritis ? Need to see a Doctor ? Schedule an appointment today! 714-916-0952.