Posted on June 15, 2022 · Posted in Blog, General, Memo Plus Gold, Personal

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is not one disease alone but an umbrella term for more than 100 conditions that affect the joints of the body. Joints are points where 2 or more bones meet, such as in the wrist, knuckles, hips, knees and ankles. If you have arthritis, the joints are inflamed, causing discomfort and pain. It can range from mild to severe and can affect people of all ages.

The 3 most common types of arthritis found in Malaysia are:

  • osteoarthritis.
  • rheumatoid arthritis.
  • gout.

Other types of arthritis include:

  • juvenile arthritis.
  • ankylosing spondylitis.
  • systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus).
  • scleroderma.

What are the symptoms of arthritis?

The symptoms of arthritis vary from person to person. But if you have arthritis, you will almost certainly have symptoms relating to your joints, such as:

  • pain
  • swelling in a joint
  • redness and warmth in a joint
  • stiffness or reduced movement of a joint

Some people also get other problems outside their joints. Other common symptoms include:

  • tiredness.
  • weight loss.
  • feeling unwell.

What causes arthritis?

The causes of many types of arthritis are not fully known. Most forms of arthritis are thought to be caused by a fault in the immune system that causes the body to attack its own tissues in the joints. This may be inherited genetically.

Other forms of arthritis can be caused by problems with the immune system or by a metabolic condition, such as gout.

Environmental factors that may contribute to the development of osteoarthritis include:

  • obesity, which puts added strain on joints.
  • activities that involve repetitive movements of a particular joint.
  • previous damage to a joint, such as from a sports injury.

You are also more likely to develop arthritis if you smoke and if you do not do enough physical activity.

Arthritis caused by an infection is called ‘reactive arthritis’. It is very difficult to diagnose and can develop at any age but is more commonly seen in younger people. Reactive arthritis can last between a few weeks to 6 months.

How is arthritis treated?

For many types of arthritis, there are treatments available that can help control symptoms and prevent damage to the joints.

The most appropriate treatment will depend on which type of arthritis you have, which joints are affected and the symptoms you have.

Treatment might include:

  • medicines, such as painkillers, anti-inflammatory medicines or medicines to slow down the disease (called disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, or DMARDs, used for inflammatory forms of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis).
  • pain management techniques, such as meditation.

In severe cases, surgery may be needed to replace or repair damaged joints.

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