Among several ailments that a person can have, arthritis is one of those that can hardly be prevented and unluckily, it develops while person ages and may get even worse as time goes by. The term arthritis refers generally to all types of inflammation in joints and degradation.
Even though there are lots of kinds of this ailment, its term is often used even in the absence of the disease. Say, for instance, the joints of a person become weak because bone tissue and cartilage is lost due to aging, but the pain associated with it in the affected areas does not necessarily mean the presence of arthritis.
When you think of arthritis, you think of inflammation. Inflammation is a process in which the body’s white blood cells and immune proteins help protect us from infection and foreign substances such as bacteria and viruses.
In some diseases, however, the body’s defense system (immune system) triggers a inflammatory response when there are no foreign substances to fight off. In these diseases, called autoimmune diseases, the body’s normally protective immune system causes damage to its own tissues. The body responds as if normal tissues are infected or somehow abnormal.
The elderly are the ones who experience the intense pain caused by inflammatory arthritis. The disease is characterized by varying types of conditions of degeneration and inflammation. When an immune system attacks itself, it can result in the development of such joint ailment.
For instance, Osteoarthritis is an ailment characterized by the friction of the ends of two bones due to complete lack of cartilage. This kind of degenerative condition causes pain that is triggered throughout the day as the joint is affected by a certain activity.
Like any other diseases, there is the best treatment for the degenerative forms of inflammatory arthritis. It is the Non- Steroidal anti- Inflammatory (NSaID’s) medications like Ibuprofen or Naproxen. apart from this, supplements such as Glucosamine and Chondroitin are also believed to be helpful in improving the health of joints in the elderly.
Gout – Causes, Stages, and Treatment For This Inflammatory Arthritis
Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that occurs in response to a build-up of crystals that are deposited in joints, soft tissue or bone. The crystals are formed as a byproduct of purine breakdown that occurs naturally in the body.
about 5.1 million americans are affected by gout. It affects men older than 40 more than women, although, after menopause, both men and women are equally affected.
What Causes Gout?
Uric acid is a natural byproduct of purine breakdown which is then eliminated by our kidneys. Our bodies are not very efficient however in eliminating uric acid, and thus a build-up occurs which is known as hyperuricemia.
Hyperuricemia is the precursor to gout although not everyone who has hyperuricemia will get gout for reasons that are not well understood. This uric acid leads to crystal formations that are deposited in joints, bones and soft tissue. These needle-like crystals can cause excruciating pain that is often likened to breaking a bone.
4 Stages of Gout
During this period, the person has no symptoms of gout but none-the-less, crystals are deposited and accumulate which then leads to a gout attack. again, why this occurs in some people with hyperuricemia and not others is not well understood.
Acute Gout Attack
Left untreated, an acute attack resolves spontaneously in 3 to 10 days. It is believed that the inflammation and lower pH that occurs during the attack eventually causes the crystals to dissolve.
In addition, some of the crystals become walled-off in tissue while other types of cells known as macrophages may elicit an anti-inflammatory response. Finally, specific proteins are thought to coat the crystals which also suppress inflammation. These processes lead to a resolution of symptoms within 3-10 days.
This is the period between attacks. Generally, about 68% of people will experience another gout attack or flare within the first year, 78% within 2 years and 84% within 3 years. a small minority will never experience another gout attack.
During this period, the individual remains pain-free despite the fact that damage to the underlying structures can still occur.
Over time, the persistence of crystals causes chronic low-level inflammation that leads to joint damage and builds up of crystal deposits that are known as tophi. These deposits lead to joint erosion and deformities that are clearly evident on X-ray or MRI.
How is Gout Diagnosed?
The gold standard for diagnosis is to take a sample of joint fluid during an acute flare to analyze it for monosodium urate crystals. However, this is not always practicable during a medical exam.
If the joint is not aspirated, a very detailed history is taken, the affected joint is carefully examined and blood work is ordered because gout can mimic other diseases.That is why it is very important to see your provider during an acute attack.
How is Gout Treated?
During acute flare, treatment focuses on eliminating pain and disability as ?uickly as possible. To this end, several types of medications can be used. Since inflammation is an underlying condition, medications that target inflammation are often used.
Treatment of advanced gout focuses on reducing the level of uric acid since gout does not occur without hyperuricemia. The goal is to prevent erosive changes to bones, soft tissue and joint spaces that otherwise occur.
Talk to your provider about treatment options that are best for you.
What Diseases are associated With Inflammation?
Some, but not all types of arthritis, are the result of misdirected inflammation. arthritis is a general term that describes inflammation in joints. Some types of arthritis associated with inflammation include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Gouty arthritis
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
The most common form of arthritis called osteoarthritis (also known as degenerative arthritis) is a bit of a misnomer. It is not believed that inflammation plays a major role in osteoarthritis.
Other painful conditions of the joints and musculoskeletal system that are not associated with inflammation include fibromyalgia, muscular low back pain, and muscular neck pain.
Inflammation affect Internal Organs?
Inflammation can affect organs as part of an autoimmune disorder. The type of symptoms experienced depends on which organs are affected. For example:
- Inflammation of the heart (myocarditis) may cause shortness of breath or fluid retention.
- Inflammation of the small tubes that transport air to the lungs may cause a shortness of breath.
- Inflammation of the kidneys (nephritis) may cause high blood pressure or kidney failure.
Pain may not be a primary symptom of an inflammatory disease because many organs do not have pain-sensitive nerves. Treatment of organ inflammation is directed at the cause of inflammation whenever possible.
Inflammatory arthritis is a term used to describe a group of conditions which affect your immune system. This means that your body’s defense system starts attacking your own tissues instead of germs, viruses and other foreign substances, which can cause pain, stiffness and joint damage.
They’re also known as autoimmune diseases. The three most common forms of inflammatory arthritis are:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- ankylosing spondylitis
- Psoriatic arthritis
These conditions are also called systemic diseases because they can affect your whole body. They can happen at any age.
There’s no cure for these diseases at the moment, but the outlook for those diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis is significantly better than it was 20–30 years ago. Effective treatment begins much earlier and new drugs are available, which means less joint damage, less need for surgery and fewer complications.
Causes of Inflammation
Inflammation occurs when substances from the body’s white blood cells are released into the blood or affected tissues to protect your body from foreign invaders. This release of chemicals increases the blood flow to the area of injury or infection and may result in redness and warmth.
Some of the chemicals cause a leak of fluid into the tissues, resulting in swelling. This protective process may stimulate nerves and cause pain.
The increased number of cells and inflammatory substances within the joint cause irritation, swelling of the joint lining, and eventual wearing down of cartilage (cushions at the end of bones).
Symptoms of Inflammatory arthritis
The symptoms of inflammatory arthritis can include the following:
- Pain in one or more joints
- Swelling in one or more joints
- The affected joint is usually warmer than other joints
- Stiffness and decrease of ability to move affected joints
- Symptoms may appear after a minor illness or emotional stress
- Skin around joints may become red and tender
Inflammation may also be associated with general “flu-like” symptoms including:
- Fatigue/loss of energy
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle stiffness
Diagnosing Inflammatory Arthritis
as soon as symptoms occur it is important to schedule an appointment with your doctor. The quicker treatment for this disease begins the more effective it will be. Your doctor will ask you for a complete medical history and will want to know if there is a history of inflammatory arthritis in your family.
He will perform a complete physical and order blood work, x-rays, and other tests to rule out all other possibilities.
Diagnosis of inflammatory joint diseases consists of all or some of the following:
- Complete medical history and physical exam with attention to the pattern of joint involvement
- Evaluation of other symptoms besides joint symptoms
- Results of X-rays, blood tests, and other studies
Treatment of Inflammatory Arthritis
The symptoms of inflammatory arthritis can be treated with medicines or natural remedies. However, it is very important to find the cause of arthritis so that the root problem can be treated as well.
Medications can be used to treat the pain and inflammation, but there are many natural remedies that have been more successful in treating the cause of inflammatory arthritis. If you use medications to relieve the symptoms of inflammatory arthritis, be sure to learn of any side effects or reactions to other medications or food.
Some natural remedies for the treatment of inflammatory arthritis include:
- Exercise – A regular exercise regimen helps to avoid stiffness of the joints associated with inflammatory arthritis
- Water aerobics – Endorphins produced in the brain during water aerobics can help ease the pain of inflammatory arthritis
- Valerian – This can be used to treat the pain of inflammatory arthritis. This natural medication is a known sedative and caution should be used – some people have experienced withdrawal symptoms when stopping abruptly.
- Comfrey – A comfrey salve can be used to reduce the inflammation of the affected joints
- Mangosteen – This fruit has been shown to relieve both the inflammation and pain associated with inflammatory arthritis
- Omega-3 fatty acids – Can be found in foods such as cold-water fish, walnut, and flaxseeds.
Inflammatory arthritis can be disabling to the point where people with the diseases can lose their jobs, which can cause psychological distress. Because it is typically progressive, those who lose their jobs are unlikely to re-enter the workforce after leaving due to their diagnosis.
Programs now aim to retain those with inflammatory arthritis by preventing work-related injuries and by making necessary accommodations in the workplace.
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