Definition of Arthritis
Arthritis is closely related to the human joints. In general, there is swelling of more than one joint. The main symptoms that usually appear are pain and stiffness in the joints. These symptoms will continue to exist and the impact will get worse with age. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is a disease that causes cartilage to break down. Cartilage is the hard and slippery tissue that covers the joints. Meanwhile about rheumatoid arthritis. Can be interpreted as a disease that involves the immune system and joints. Usually this immune system begins to attack the outermost layer of the joints.
The symptoms felt by the sufferer will be in accordance with the type experienced. Here are the symptoms of each:
1. Osteoarthritis (OA)
Osteoarthritis affects the cartilage lining the joints, which can cause pain and difficulty moving. OA is commonly experienced by middle-aged people, especially in their late 40s or older. The loss of cartilage causes bones to rub against each other, deforming joints and forcing bones out of their normal positions.
OA often occurs in the joints of the hands, spine, knees, and hips, and is characterized by the following symptoms:
- Joints lose the flexibility of motion.
- Increased pain and stiffness when not moving the joint for a while.
- The joint appears slightly larger than usual.
- There is a sound in the joint every time it moves.
- Weakness and loss of muscle mass in the joints.
2. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
People aged between 40 and 50 years generally have a higher risk of developing this disease. Usually, the outer covering joints will be the first to be affected. Then, the inflammation will spread to the surrounding joints. If a person has RA, they will experience changes in the shape of their joints.
If it gets worse, RA can cause problems in tissues and organs. This disease cannot be underestimated, because rheumatoid arthritis is what causes sufferers to not be able to carry out normal activities as usual. The following symptoms need immediate treatment:
- A throbbing pain sensation on its own that is worse in the morning.
- Joint stiffness that causes the fingers not to bend or make a fist.
- Swelling, warmth, and redness on their own due to inflammation. Some sufferers experience the development of symptoms in the area around the joints.
- Feeling constantly tired and lacking energy.
- Experiencing increased body temperature and sweating.
- Experience a decrease in appetite which leads to weight loss.
This condition can sometimes cause problems in other areas of the body, such as dry eyes and chest pain. Chest pain occurs when the heart or lungs are affected by the disease.
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Causes of Arthritis
Arthritis can occur when the tissue in the cartilage becomes inflamed and this results in impaired joint function. Cartilage is a connective tissue that serves to protect the bones from rubbing against each other when they are moving. The causes of arthritis can vary depending on the type.
Osteoarthritis involves the breakdown and tearing of joint cartilage, which is the hard, smooth coating on the ends of bones. This damage causes the bones to rub against each other directly, resulting in joint pain and limited movement. Wear and tear on these joints can occur over years and can be accelerated by joint injury or infection.
While the trigger factors for osteoarthritis are:
- Joint injuries result from not having enough time to heal after an injury or surgery.
- Secondary arthritis, is a condition that occurs as a result of being severely damaged by a previous or pre-existing condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout.
- The risk of developing OA continues to increase with age.
- Have a family history of the same condition.
- Have excess weight. Obesity puts excessive stress on joints, especially the knees and hips
- You are a woman.
2. Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by the body’s immune system attacking the lining of the joint capsule, which is a membrane that covers all parts of the joint. This layer, known as the synovial membrane, becomes inflamed and becomes swollen. If this process continues, the disease can damage the cartilage and bone in the joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition, which means it is caused by the immune system attacking healthy body tissues. However, it is not known what triggers it. However, here are some conditions that are suspected of being a triggering factor for RA:
- Have a family history of the same disease.
- You are a woman.
- Active smoker.
The doctor will diagnose the type of arthritis by conducting a complete medical interview, a thorough physical examination, and appropriate supporting examinations, including:
X-ray examination is useful for visualizing bones, such as showing cartilage loss, bone damage, and bone spur damage. X-rays can also be used to determine the progress of the disease.
2. Computerized Tomography or CT Scan
CT scans can be used to visualize the condition of the bone and surrounding soft tissue that cannot be seen using ordinary bone X-rays.
3. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Magnetic Resonance Imaging optimizes radio waves that have a strong magnetic field. This will create a very detailed image. Even images such as tendons, cartilage, and ligaments will be more clearly seen.
4. Joint Fluid Analysis
Joint fluid analysis can be used to determine the level of inflammation in the joints and help doctors in concluding the type of arthritis experienced by the patient.
Arthritis is a disease that makes it difficult for the sufferer to move for a long period of time. This will automatically interfere with daily activities carried out. Instead of bothering to treat, you should take preventive steps with the following steps:
- Regular and light exercise to maintain joint flexibility. A good exercise option for people with arthritis is swimming because it does not put pressure on the joints.
- Avoid doing excessive and continuous activities, which involve the joints.
- Eat foods rich in antioxidants to prevent and reduce joint inflammation.
- Maintain a healthy diet and maintain an ideal body weight to reduce the risk of developing arthritis and reduce symptoms in people with it.
Arthritis is a disease that cannot be completely treated and cured. Treatment is done only aims to relieve the symptoms experienced, as well as improve joint function. Some of the treatment methods that doctors will use to treat arthritis, include:
- Administration of drugs. In osteoarthritis, drugs that are often given include painkillers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, and corticosteroid drugs.
- Operation action. When arthritis is severe enough, the doctor may recommend surgery, such as:
- Arthroplasty (joint replacement), to replace a damaged joint with an artificial joint.
- Arthrodesis (joining of joints), where the ends of the bones are joined together until they heal and become one.
- Osteotomy, where the bones are cut and re-aligned.