Definition of Arthritis
Arthritis is a certain type of medical condition which ischaracterized by inflammatory conditions in the joints or any areas of the bodywhere two bones are joined together. This may occur in any joint in the humanbody and it can severely reduce one’s mobility, because the joints make thebody parts moveable. There are various different types of arthritis such aswear and tear of cartilage which occurs in cases of osteoarthritis orinflammatory types such as rheumatoid arthritis which is known for beingassociated with an overactive immune system. The joint which is most commonlyaffected by arthritis is the knee. This joint may be affected by bothosteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
There are more than 50 million adults in the United Stateswho suffer from fibromyalgia, lupus, gout, rheumatoid arthritis or any otherform of arthritis. Every fifth citizen of the United States is diagnosed witharthritis. The shocking fact is that there are more than 300,000 children under18 years old in the United States who suffer from some sort of arthritis orother rheumatoid conditions. There are more than 27 million adults sufferingfrom osteoarthritis and over 1.5 million adults suffering from rheumatoidarthritis. There also more than 3 million gout-affected adult American citizensand 5 million more suffering from fibromyalgia. Arthritis affects individualsfrom all different age groups, but the general rule is that it affects olderpersons much more than it affects adults and children. It is an interestingfact that arthritis affects women much more than it affects men. As far asethnic groups are concerned, arthritis affects African Americans the most. It isalso a well known fact that arthritis tends to affect those who are overweightor obese much more than those who are not.
Rheumatoid Knee Arthritis and Osteoarthritis of the Knee
Osteoarthritis is the most commonly occurring type ofarthritis and it is actually a joint disease which is characterized by wearingaway of the cartilage and the development of cushion layers between theaffected bones. In some cases it is also referred to as degenerative jointdisease. The symptoms of this medical condition tend to develop rather slowlyand in most cases they include grating sensations which can even be heard whenthe joint is used, loss of flexibility, stiffness when walking, stiffness whenstanding, tenderness in the knee and painful sensations. When the cartilageslowly gets deteriorated, it eventually leads to the development ofosteoarthritis. The absence of cartilage leads to deformity, loss of mobilityand the rubbing of the bones. Other common type of arthritis known foraffecting the knees is the one called rheumatoid arthritis. It is a chronicinflammatory disorder which is known for affect smaller joints in the humanbody. As the time progresses the condition only gets worse, and unfortunatelyit cannot be cured. It affects the linings of the joints and makes them becomeswollen so it all leads to serious damage and deformities of the body. Once it affects the aforementioned smallerjoints inside the body, it commonly progresses into bigger joints such as theknees, hips, elbows and shoulders. The most common symptoms of rheumatoidarthritis include fatigue, puffy hands, red hands, swelling and joint pain.There is also one more common type of arthritis and it is called post traumaticarthritis. It occurs after injuries to the knee such as meniscus tears,ligament injuries and fractures. All painful sensations associated witharthritis may occur suddenly or gradually, depending on the individual case.Stiffness and swelling which are present in most cases of arthritis make itvery difficult to fully strengthen or bend the affected knee. Activities suchas kneeling, stair climbing and walking tend to worsen the condition in mostcases. Changes in the weather may also sometimes be held responsible for thechanges in severity of the painful sensations.
Causes and Treatment
In order to diagnose the condition the doctor needs toperform a physical examination which focuses on joint tenderness, jointswelling, the range of the motion and several other parameters. Some cases mayalso involve x-ray scanning, magnetic resonance scanning and certain bloodtests. The exact cause of arthritis is commonly a combination of differentfactors such as aging, stress, joint injuries, heredity, obesity, muscleweakness and several others. The wearing down of cartilage and repetitivestress are among the most common risk factors when it comes to the developmentof arthritis. There are numerous different types of treatment methods for thosewho suffer from arthritis. One needs to avoid all aggravating activities andice the affected knee for up to 30 minutes each day. Various types of over thecounter anti inflammatory medicaments, physical therapy and utilization ofacetaminophen may also be of great help in alleviating the symptoms of thisdreadful condition. Other treatment options include patches, topical creams,exercises, supportive devices, oral steroids, arthroscopy, athroplasty andosteotomy.