While the term “arthritis” is commonly used, it is less widely understood. While your mind may immediately go to joint pain, it’s important to understand that arthritis is more than that.
According to Medical News Today, “arthritis means joint inflammation, but the term is used to describe around 200 conditions that affect joints, the tissues that surround the joint, and other connective tissue.”
Because arthritis can affect people of all ages, it is the leading cause of disability in the United States. Getting an exact number of individuals affected by this condition is difficult since not everyone seeks medical assistance. A conservative estimate from the Arthritis Foundation reports, “more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some type of arthritis.”
Oaks Senior Living proudly offers senior living services throughout Georgia, and we are committed to changing the way people age. We understand the impact that arthritis symptoms can have on your daily life, so we are sharing information about arthritis as well as tips for arthritis treatment and managing symptoms.
What Causes Arthritis?
To understand what causes arthritis, you first need to know what cartilage is and its role in the body.
The International Cartilage Regeneration & Joint Preservation Society (ICRS) states, “cartilage is a tough but flexible tissue that is the main type of connective tissue in the body.” This tissue is found in many areas of the body, including on the ends of bones, to protect joints and prevent the bones from grinding directly on one another.
Simply put, when the cartilage in joints breaks down, this results in arthritis. How the cartilage breaks down is a result of the different types of arthritis.
Types of Arthritis
There are two main types of arthritis: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. While they result in common symptoms, they affect the cartilage and joints differently.
Osteoarthritis is the more common type and refers to natural wear and tear on the joints. While this condition can gradually progress over time, it can be escalated by a joint injury or infection.
Affecting the entire joint, osteoarthritis causes deterioration of the connective cartilage tissues and changes to the bones in the joint themselves. Your risk of developing osteoarthritis may be increased if you have a family history of the disease.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks the tissues of the body, including those that are vital to protecting the joints. Among the affected tissues is the synovium, a soft tissue found in the joints that produces a fluid that nourishes cartilage and lubricates the joint. Rheumatoid Arthritis affects the entire joint, eventually leading to the destruction of the bone and cartilage found there.
Other common types of arthritis include:
- Psoriatic Arthritis
- Reactive Arthritis
- Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
Common Symptoms of Arthritis
Your arthritis symptoms may depend on the type of arthritis you have, but there are common symptoms that stem from the condition as a whole. These symptoms can include:
- Joint stiffness
- Joint swelling
- Tenderness in the affected joint or joints
- Limited range of motion or mobility
Arthritis Treatment and Managing Your Symptoms
For many, arthritis can affect their ability to perform daily tasks or keep them from pursuing hobbies and interests. For this reason, it is important to seek arthritis treatment and find ways to manage and reduce your symptoms.
Make your health a priority this year! Download our free resource to learn the importance of routinely visiting physicians.
While there is no cure for arthritis, there are ways to reduce pain and prevent additional damage to your affected joints. Taking anti-inflammatory medication, utilizing physical therapy, and making lifestyle changes such as consuming a healthy diet, and getting regular exercise can make a significant difference. We encourage you to speak with your healthcare provider for the best course of action before making any changes to your routine.
Getting a proper diagnosis for your condition is key in treating it. At Oaks Senior Living, we offer services that help residents manage health conditions like arthritis to lead more engaging lifestyles.
To learn more about our senior living communities throughout Georgia, we invite you to contact a member of our team or visit our website.