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Do You Have Arthritis?

8/10/2012


Often though of as a condition affecting the older population, younger adults and even children suffer from arthritis.
  • Painful tingling.
  • Swelling.
  • Aches.
All are symptoms associated with arthritis.

Of the more than 120 types of arthritis, the most common are:

Osteoarthritis


Osteoarthritis is the “wear and tear” type of arthritis associated most commonly with old age. Age and genetics are major factors that lead to this form of the disease. Trauma or overuse also may lead to disfigurement as well as swollen and painful joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis


The most crippling form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, is caused both by genetics and environmental factors, such as bacteria, viruses, female hormones or the body’s response to physical or emotional trauma. Rheumatoid arthritis is diagnosed through blood testing and symptoms. A rheumatologist can help detect the disease early and may prescribe medication and lifestyle adjustments to treat the symptoms.

Gout


Gout is a type of arthritis caused by excess uric acid that crystallizes in the joints. Painful and visible swelling develops and may “flare up” periodically. A diet rich in organ meats, anchovies, shellfish, bacon, gravies with little to no dairy, or excessive alcohol use can cause flare ups.

The first symptom of gout is excruciating pain and swelling in the big toe following an illness or injury. Subsequent attacks may occur off and on in other joints, primarily those of the foot and knee, before becoming chronic. In its chronic stage, gout can affect many joints, including those of the hands.

Gout is one of the most controllable forms of arthritis. A rheumatologist can help by prescribing medications to lower uric acid levels and recommending diet changes.

Alleviate the Symptoms.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is very important in managing chronic conditions like arthritis. Proper posture and exercise, as well as eating a healthy diet, may relieve aches and pains. Physical and occupational therapy can help reduce pain and improve ability to perform routine tasks using appropriate exercise to regain strength and range of motion. Exercise to improve muscle strength and bulk can reduce symptoms too. A rheumatologist also may prescribe medications or suggest surgery in more severe stages of arthritis.

Arthritis Pain Affects 1 in 5 People.

If you or a family member is suffering with joint pain or swelling, see a physician. Call today to make an appointment with Dr. Gauthier at North Oaks Rheumatology Clinic in Hammond at (985) 230-1835 or at North Oaks Multispecialty Group in Livingston at (225) 686-4960.

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