Arthritis is a common term used to refer a number of joint diseases. These diseases affect 53 million adults and $300,000 children in the US alone.
Symptoms of arthritis
Arthritis is a very common disease and can happen to people of any age or even children. There are more than 100 types of arthritis and progression can differ from person to person. In some people, arthritis would come very slowly and mildly where is in others it could happen almost suddenly and cause intense pain.
For some people, the condition can come and go in phases.
Many times Arthritis is mistaken for a joint injury.
So, when should you see a doctor for arthritis? Since it is up to you to take care of your joints, you should see a doctor at the earliest signs of joint pain. It is best left to the doctor to diagnose if it is arthritis or some other injury.
Prevention of arthritis
We all know that prevention is better than cure. However, there is no sure shot way of preventing arthritis. Instead one can surely work on reducing the risk of getting arthritis.
Some types of arthritis have risk factors that are not modifiable, meaning there is not much you can do about it. One such factor is the genetic profile which is non-modifiable. Genetic profile of arthritis makes people more vulnerable to this disease.
Some forms of arthritis with modifiable factors are osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. These conditions can be well controlled by maintaining a healthy weight, choosing not to smoke and eating a healthy diet that is low in sugar and alcohol respectively.
A person with joint pain generally first visits a primary care physician. A primary care physician would do at top level diagnosis of the condition. If the pain does not go away or returns back, patients generally go and see a specialist referred by the primary care physician.
The specialist could be a rheumatologist or an orthopedic doctor. These specialists would then do a comprehensive examination in accordance with their specialty. The results of examination decide the further course of treatment.
Treatment of arthritis
Arthritis is best treated in its early stages. Treatment of arthritis can vary from condition to condition. In most cases, there is a certain amount of physical activity or exercise that is required to control the symptoms. In other cases, there is more dependence on medicines to treat the condition, especially pain management.
Once you are diagnosed with a form of arthritis, it is advised religiously follow the treatment even when the symptoms go down. In many forms of arthritis, seriously affected patients are the ones who do not follow the treatment when did joint pain decreases or temporarily goes off.
An arthritis patient should keep an active Lifestyle and maintain daily exercise routine as advised by the physician. This is the key to maintaining a healthy life with arthritis.