What is Arthritis?
A broad field of conditions characterised by a varying
range of such signs as joint stiffness, swelling, pain on movement,
disfigurement, increased heat over the joint, etc. have been identified.
There are more than 100 such conditions, however, the following are common:
- Osteoarthritis: a degenerative form which due to the fact
that it is most common will be described briefly below;
- Rheumatoid arthritis: another fairly common arthritic
condition which is more common in women than in men and usually
appears in mid life. The effects of Rheumatoid arthritis are not
limited to joints only, the person may feel very tired, generally
unwell, sore and could have anemia
- Gout: which is the more acute and recurrent form
resulting form deposition of crystals of protein metabolism products
- in the joints.
- Ankoylosing spondilitis: primarily involving the
spine and para spinal structures. (Some people say this is less
Many people think that arthritis only affects older
people. This is not true, the above mentioned types of arthritis
can strike at any age, including childhood although this is not
The onset is usually gradual and localised to one or
- Characterised by degenerative loss of joint cartilage, pain,
stiffness, tenderness or a grating sound on movement
- The cause is unknown but genetic, metabolic, hormonal,
biochemical (body movements) factors have been suggested
- Can affect hips, knees, spine, hands and sometimes the feet.
- The aim of treatment is to reduce pain and maintain mobility
- It is always best to seek the correct diagnosis at your
nearest health facility for an early appropriate treatment
- Moderate exercise to maintain the full range of joint
- Reduction of body weight is valuable especially if weight
bearing joints are involved
- Use of assistive devises eg. Crutches and frames in severe
cases protects the weight bearing joints
- Heat in the form of water soaks, hot packs or electrical pad
to relieve pain.
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