What is Arthritis?
Arthritis can be caused by the wear and tear of cartilage normally intented to protect the joint and absorb pressure from walking and other movements. It normally affects older people, who have put a number of miles on their joints. However, autoimmune diseases, broken bones, or a bacterial or viral infection can cause arthritic issues.
To diagnose this condition, a health care professional will look for fluid around the joint, warm, red, tender joints and a limited range of motion.
The most common three forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is a breakdown of cartilage that prevents the bones in a joint from rubbing together. This causes stiffness, pain and loss of movement in the joint.
Rheumatoid Arthritis occurs when the lining of the joints become inflamed leading to constant pain, loss of function and long-term damage to the joint.
Juvenile Arthritis refers to an arthritis-related condition that develops in children or teenagers under the age of 18. The most common type of juvenile arthritis is juvenile idiopathic arthritis, which is characterized by swelling of the joints for six weeks or more.
There are a number of treatment options to reduce pain, improve function and prevent further damage to the joint. Medication such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin are recommended to treat the pain and inflammation. Doctors can also prescribe corticosteroids to help reduce inflammation and knee and hip replacements can be performed to relieve pain (surgeries require physical therapy for recovery.)
The best way to treat arthritis is changing your lifestyle. Patients are told to increase their exercise regimen to relieve stiffness, reduce pain, fatigue, improve muscles and bone strength. Doctors may suggest low-impact aerobic activity, strength training, range of motion exercises and heat/ice/water/massage therapies.
How Arthritis Patients Benefit from Interim’s Care
In spite of medical treatment, arthritis can progress and cause difficulty conducting normal activities of daily living (like bathing, dressing, laundry, light housekeeping.) A home care aide can provide support and assistance to help you live comfortably in your own home.