As we grow older, our joints become more susceptible to wearing down and degeneration. This could lead to a variety of pain symptoms and problems that older people may experience. Perhaps one of the most common issues older people experience is arthritis.
Here are some of the things you should know about this condition.
What Is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a medical condition characterized by the inflammation of joints. It causes chronic pain and swelling, which can be debilitating to patients, preventing them from enjoying a full range of motion. While the primary symptom of arthritis is pain, patients also experience stiffness, a grinding sensation, redness in the area, and potential weakness.
There is a higher percentage of women who have arthritis than men. Although arthritis could affect people of any age, older adults are at higher risk. The condition may worsen with age and cause other joint and bone complications.
Types of Arthritis
Unbeknownst to some, arthritis is an umbrella term that encompasses various joint conditions, such as:
Osteoarthritis is the most common kind of arthritis. It is a degenerative joint disease that is most likely to develop at an older age. It could affect all types of joints in the body, but it commonly affects the hands, hips, knees, shoulders, and spine.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory type of arthritis that could affect more than just joints. It is an autoimmune disease that makes the body’s immune system attack healthy tissues. It could also affect the skin, eyes, lungs, and other organs in the body.
Arthritis is most common in the elderly, but juvenile arthritis affects children under the age of 16, impacting their joints and other nearby tissues. This condition also affects their growth and development. Juvenile arthritis causes sufferers to experience chronic pain, swelling, and stiffness.
This condition develops in people with psoriasis. It involves the formation of red, scaly patches all over the body. Currently, there is no known cure for this condition. The available interventions help alleviate and mitigate the pain and symptoms of patients.
Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory disease affecting the spine. Over time, this condition may cause the fusion of spinal bones. It causes back pain and may also bring intermittent hip pain and stiffness.
Gout is a painful condition caused by the excess build-up of uric acid in the body. Its symptoms typically include a painful burning sensation, accompanied by swelling and inflammation in the big toe.
Signs and Symptoms of Arthritis
Different patients experience a variety of symptoms. However, the most commonly reported ones are the following:
- Joint pain
- Warmth in the area
Risk for the development of arthritis varies from person to person, but the likelihood of developing arthritis can be affected by the following:
- Age — the risk for developing arthritis increases with age
- Lifestyle — smoking and lack of exercise increase risk
- Sex — studies show that women are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis while men are more likely to have gout
- Weight — excess weight puts unnecessary pressure and strain on joints, increasing the risk of developing arthritis and other joint problems
- Family History — you are more likely to develop arthritis if your family has a history of it
- Previous Injuries — patients who have injured their joints in the past are more likely to develop arthritis in that affected joint
Treatment Options for Arthritis
Healthcare providers will first exhaust all conservative treatment options before suggesting more aggressive treatments. The most common interventions are as follows:
- Medications — various medications can help relieve pain and address symptoms
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): reduce pain and inflammation in affected joints
- Counterirritants: commonly include ointments and creams that reduce the transmission of pain signals to the brain
- Steroid injections: direct cortisone shots to the affected area help relieve the pain longer than over-the-counter medications
- Physical Therapy — this rehabilitative treatment option helps patients regain flexibility and mobility
- Surgery — this is commonly suggested for patients with severe arthritis who haven’t found relief from conservative treatments
Arthritis Specialists in Wellington, FL
Conditions like arthritis may cause a variety of complications in the future. The longer it goes unaddressed, the worse it will likely get. It’s therefore critical to get it checked as soon as possible.
If you are looking for quality bone and joint care, look no further than Advanced Medical Clinic. Dr. Ishan Gunawardene, a board-certified internist, together with Shariffa Gunawardene, a board-certified family nurse practitioner, can provide you with the best primary holistic care possible from diagnosis to treatment and rehabilitation.
If you wish to know more about us and our services, you can check in online or call us at (561) 434-1935. You can also secure an appointment ahead of time by using our online appointment request form. We look forward to serving you!