Did you know that about one in three Americans have some form of arthritis or joint pain? Arthritis is inflammation that occurs in the joints such as the knee, shoulder, hip or elbow as the body’s natural reactions to injury or disease.
The term “arthritis” actually represents more than 100 rheumatic diseases and conditions that affect the joints. Arthritis is usually chronic, meaning that it rarely changes or progresses slowly. There are no specific causes for most forms of arthritis.
The symptoms of arthritis vary by type and in severity from person to person. However, the most common symptoms of arthritis include but are not limited to the following:
- Pain and stiffness in the joints
- Swelling in one or more joints
- Continuing or recurring pain or tenderness in a joint
- Difficulty using or moving a joint
- Warmth and redness in a joint
- Fatigue and lack of energy
The symptoms of arthritis can resemble other medical conditions. It is important to consult your doctor for a proper diagnosis.
Risk factors for arthritis include:
- Age – The risk increases with age.
- Gender – Arthritis occurs more often in women than men.
- Obesity – Extra weight puts more stress on the joints.
- Occupational factors – Jobs requiring more bending, squatting or lifting put more stress on joints.
- Joint infections, injuries or damage
The best treatment for arthritis is to take measures to control pain, joint damage and to maintain or improve function.
The following are some ways to treat arthritis:
- Physical or occupational therapy
- Splints or joint assistive aids
- Weight loss
- Healthy diet
For diagnosis and treatment of arthritis, please contact our UAMS Center for Primary Care.