Arthritis


Arthritis (from Greek arthro-, joint + -itis, inflammation) is a group of conditions that affect the health of the bone joints in the body. One in three adult Americans suffer from some form of arthritis and the disease affects about twice as many women as men.

I have found that physical injuries became often become arthritic with age, especially with abuse of that art of the body. For example, a simple knee injury becomes arthritic if the person's knees are abused in life. This might include excessive exercise, something job related, other. Knee replacement is becoming more coming. Don't abuse your body.

For women after menopause we find any number of diseases that lead to arthritis or arthritic-like symptoms.

Arthritic diseases include rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, which are autoimmune diseases; septic arthritis, caused by joint infection; and the more common osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease. Arthritis can be caused from strains and injuries caused by repetitive motion, sports, overexertion, and falls. Unlike the autoimmune diseases, osteoarthritis largely affects older people and results from the degeneration of joint cartilage. Other forms are discussed below.

Arthritic joints can be sensitive to weather changes. The increased sensitivity is thought to be caused by the affected joints developing extra nerve endings in an attempt to protect the joint from further damage.

Signs and symptoms

All arthritides feature pain, which is generally worse in the morning and on initiating movement, and resolves in the course of time. In elderly people and children, the pain may not be the main feature, and the patient simply moves less (elderly) or refuse to use the affected limb (children).

When faced with joint pain, a doctor will generally ask about several other medical symptoms (such as fever, skin symptoms, breathlessness, Raynaud's phenomenon) that may narrow down the differential diagnosis to a few items, for which testing can be done.

Monoarthritis (arthritis of one joint) and fever together are pointers towards septic arthritis. This is a medical emergency, and requires urgent referral to an orthopedic surgeon for analysis of joint aspirate and consideration for joint washout.

Diagnosis

The various types of arthritis can be distinguished by the pace of onset, the age and sex of the patient, the amount of (and which) joints affected, additional symptoms such as psoriasis, iridocyclitis, Raynaud's phenomenon, and rheumatoid nodules, and other clues.Blood tests and X-rays of the affected joints are often performed to make the diagnosis. X-rays can show erosions or bone appositions.

Screening blood tests: full blood count, electrolytes, renal function, liver enzymes, calcium, phosphate, protein electrophoresis, C-reactive protein and the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR). Specific tests are the rheumatoid factor, antinuclear factor (ANF), extractable nuclear antigen and specific antibodies whenever the ANF is found to be positive.

Treatment

Treatment options vary depending on the precise condition, but include surgery, and drug treatment, reduction of joint stress, physical and occupational therapy, and pain management. Pain management doctors offer conventional treatments with complementary and alternative medicine options."

There are also numerous herbal remedies that purportedly treat arthritis, including Harpagophytum procumbens. For specifics, see the articles on the individual conditions listed below.

History

While evidence of primary ankle osteoarthritis has been discovered in dinosaurs, the first known traces of human arthritis date back as far as 4500 BC. It was noted in skeletal remains of Native Americans found in Tennessee and parts of what is now Olathe, Kansas. Evidence of arthritis has been found throughout history, from Otzi, a mummy (circa 3000 BC) found along the border of modern Italy and Austria, to the Egyptian mummies circa 2590 BC.

Around 500 BC willow bark gained popularity when it was discovered that this bark could help relieve some of the aches and pains of arthritis.

It wasn't until more than 2000 years later, in the early 1820s, that European scientists began to scientifically study what the chemical compound was in willow bark that alleviated the arthritis symptoms. They discovered the compound was salicin. When they isolated salicin, however, they found it was very noxious to the stomach.

Almost 80 years later, in 1897, an employee of Bayer Company - then a dye production company - named Felix Hoffman discovered how to isolate the compound and make it less irritating to the stomach. Hoffman was attempting to make the drug in order to help his father who was suffering from arthritis.

In 1899, Bayer Company trademarked Hoffman's discovery under the name "Aspirin." Today it is believed that over a trillion tablets of aspirin have been sold worldwide.

Types of Arthritis




In the News ...


Arthritis Linked to Depression   Live Science - May 1, 2012
Arthritis can be depressing, a fact scientists have just quantified. One-third of U.S residents 45 and older with arthritis have anxiety or depression, a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds. According to findings that appear today in Arthritis Care & Research, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), anxiety is nearly twice as common as depression among people with arthritis, despite more clinical focus on the latter mental health condition. In the U.S. 27 million individuals, 25 years of age and older, have doctor diagnosed osteoarthritis (OA) and 1.3 adults have rheumatoid arthritis (RA) according to prevalence data from the ACR. The CDC estimates that all forms of arthritis affect 50 million Americans and is the leading cause of disability nationwide. Previous studies have reported depression is common among those with chronic illnesses such as arthritis. However, experts suggest that anxiety is often under-recognized and under-treated, and until recently was overlooked as a potential risk factor for depression.





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