Rheumatoid arthritis – a chronic, systemic inflammatory disorder, which can affect many organs, but in the most cases, it attacks flexible joints. This also is known as one of the most common forms of arthritis. In the long term, rheumatoid arthritis can lead to joint damage, which results in chronic joint pain or even to disability.
In the map below you can see disability-adjusted life year for rheumatoid arthritis per 100,000 by country.
Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms
- swelling, tenderness and warmth (in joints of the fingers, wrists and fee);
- the feeling of pain and difficulty to move mentioned joints;
- the joints of both sides of the body are affected in the most cases;
- low-grade fever;
- loss of appetite;
- stiffness in the morning (for several hours);
- in the long- time period cartilage damage can lead to joint deformities.
Rheumatoid arthritis causes
No matter, that certain causes of rheumatoid arthritis still are not known, an important role in its formation is given to genetic factors and also to the immune system when its cells are causing inflammation, and in the result can lead to the damage of cartilage and bone.
How to manage rheumatoid arthritis
The treatment plan for rheumatoid arthritis patients should be developed by rheumatologist. In the most cases that would include the reduction of joint pain, swelling, relieving of stiffness and also prevention of joint damage.
The very basics of rheumatoid arthritis treatment start with maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including healthy eating and some physical activities, which have to be combined with the rest, joint protection and when necessary also physical or occupational therapy.
As one of the main treatment methods for rheumatoid arthritis is used drugs, especially anti-inflammatory drugs used for reduction of pain, stiffness and swelling. Unfortunately, for many people rheumatoid arthritis leads to joint replacement surgery.
Osteoarthritis – a group of mechanical abnormalities involving degradation of joints, including articular cartilage and subchondral bone. This is the most common type of arthritis. There are around 27 million of people living with osteoarthritis in the U.S. and around 8 million of people in the U.K.
- joint pain;
- stiffness in joints;
- locking of joints;
- an effusion (sometimes).
The same as with rheumatoid arthritis the exact causes of osteoarthritis are not known. However, there are plenty of factors that might increase the opportunity of development of osteoarthritis, they include heredity, joint injury, overweight, aging and inactivity.
How to manage osteoarthritis
The general osteoarthritis treatment includes a complex of changes in the previous lifestyle, for example, doing some exercises, starting a diet, etc. There also will be a necessity for taking painkillers as one of the main treatment goals is to reduce joint pain. In later stages of osteoarthritis joint replacement surgery could be the solution to improve osteoarthritis patient’s life.
The same as with a rheumatoid arthritis, treatment plan of osteoarthritis includes possible changes in the previous eating habits, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and also adding some physical activities. However, they should be combined with the rest, joint protection and when necessary also physical or occupational therapy.
Very important factor in the prevention of osteoarthritis is maintaining a healthy weight. In the case, a person is overweight it puts a bigger pressure on joints like knees and hips and also low back.
Septic arthritis (infection arthritis) – infection of a joint, which leads to the inflammation of the infected joint. This infection can be bacterial or fungal and can be spread from another infected area of the body exactly to the joint.
At the same time, it is possible that infection harms only a joint. In the most cases, septic arthritis affects only one joint, but sometimes it can affect more joints at the same time. Large joints like elbows, hips, knees are affected with septic arthritis often than small ones.
Septic arthritis symptoms
- joint pain;
- feeling unwell.
Septic arthritis causes
Septic arthritis can develop in any age, and it can be caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi. Risk factors that might increase the probability of septic arthritis development include:
- Bacterial infection;
- Artificial joint implants;
- Joint disease;
- Joint injury;
- Joint surgery;
- Intravenous drug abuse;
- Illnesses (diabetes, alcoholism, rheumatic disease);
- Medications that suppress immune system.
How to manage septic arthritis
There are two main treatment methods for septic arthritis used:
- Antibiotics in the most cases are started as soon as possible, then the doctor will identify what bacteria have caused the joint infection and then will prescribe the antibiotics, which are capable of treating the specific infection or deal with the bacteria in the most effective way. In some cases there even can be the combination of antibiotics prescribed. The period of taking antibiotics will be individual still it can be up to two or even six weeks.
- Drainage of the infected joint fluid from the joint, which would remove the bacteria from the joint and also reduce the pressure on the infected joint. The methods used to drainage the joint are arthroscopy and arthrocentesis. There are cases when this process must be repeated several times as not always it is possible to get out all infected fluid in one procedure.
Juvenile arthritis (childhood arthritis) – arthritis in a child, which refers to any form of arthritis or an arthritis-related condition that develops in children or teenagers who are less than 18 years old. There are around 300,000 children living with juvenile arthritis in the U.S.
Juvenile arthritis symptoms
- joint pain;
- swelling of joint;
- joint tenderness;
- stiffness of joint;
- joint deformity (caused by damage of joint cartilage).
Juvenile arthritis types
- Polyarticular juvenile arthritis, which occurs more in girls than boys. In the most cases, it affects joints in the both sides of the body (knees, wrists, ankles, hips, shoulders);
- Pauciarticular juvenile arthritis, which mostly affects joint just on one side of the body (wrists, knees, ankles);
- Systemic onset juvenile arthritis might occur in girls and boys equally. It can cause fevers lasting for weeks and rash on different parts of the body. It can affect small joints (in hands, wrists, knees, ankles).
Juvenile arthritis causes
The exact causes of juvenile arthritis are not discovered.
How to manage juvenile arthritis
In the most cases, a pediatric rheumatologist will create a plan for treatment of juvenile arthritis. The basic treatment steps would include the relieving pain, taking control over inflammation and the prevention of joint damage. This is done mainly by medication, physical activity, physical and occupational therapy, etc.