As the population ages, arthritis becomes more and more common. With over 100 different types, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that arthritis affects more than 50 million people. One of the most common forms is osteoarthritis.
Over time, the cartilage that cushions the bones deteriorates. The pain is actually inflammation in the joint caused by the bones rubbing together, which is why arthritis is sometimes referred to as “the wear and tear disease.”
The most common symptom of arthritis is pain and stiffening in the joints that may gradually worsen overtime or appear suddenly. There are several factors that put you at greater risk for arthritis including genetics, gender (women tend to suffer more from osteoarthritis and men from gout), age and weight. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be time to see a physician.
Determining the type of arthritis you have is crucial to effectively treat the symptoms. It also may be appropriate to do a full medical work-up consisting of a complete medical history and x-rays of the affected joints.
Arthritis is a chronic condition meaning that it is recurrent and long-term. As such, treatment is specific for each person and should be discussed with a doctor. While arthritis will not go away entirely, there are certain preventative measures you can take to ease the pain and frequency of reoccurrence. Maintaining a healthy weight, being active and exercising all are positive ways in which to prevent osteoarthritis from developing.
For pain management, anti-inflammatory medications, both over-the-counter and prescribed, as well as physical therapy, are typical. Joint replacement surgery also is an option for severe cases that cause pain intense enough to limit mobility and daily activity.
The physicians, nurses practitioners and physician assistants at Longstreet Clinic Orthopedics are qualified to assess the extent of your arthritis and prescribe the best course of action. Please contact us at 678-207-4500!