Arthritis is an inflammation of joints. Either a single or multiple joints can be affected .Arthritis affects elder patients above 55 years of age but can also affect younger population in certain conditions. Broadly there are two types of arthritis-osteoarthritis (OA) AND Rheumatoid arthritis (RA).A special tissue called cartilage which lines the joint helps in absorbing the pressure and stresses on the joints. Wear and tear of this cartilage leads to osteoarthritis.
RA is an autoimmune disorder wherein the body’s defense or immune system attacks and destroys the synovium of the joint and hence leads to the destruction of the joint. Joint pain, early morning stiffness, restricted range of motion and redness are the common symptoms. RA being a systemic disorder can affect multiple systems and lead to various other ailments. Diagnosis of arthritis starts by a detailed examination by an orthopedic surgeon. A series of investigations like blood tests and xrays help in reaching a diagnosis and aid further in treatment.
The main goal of treatment is to achieve painless joint with a good range of motion. After all, life is all about movement. Weight loss, healthy life style, regular exercise, healthy eating habits, abstinence from alcohol and smoking, supervised physiotherapy help to a large extent in controlling the symptoms. Combination of various medicines like anti-inflammatory drugs, cartilage protective drugs/supplements, vitamin D3, vitamin B12 supplements with macronutrients help largely in treating the symptoms. Good exercise and physiotherapy help in achieving good flexibility and range of motion.
Swimming and cycling is highly recommended exercise in arthritic patients. In RA, patients need to be put on DMARDs which are essentially disease modifying agents which control progress of RA. Anti-osteoporotic agents are necessary to strengthen the bones.