The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At Elite NP Clinic in DeSoto, Texas, Nurse Tamara Washington treats patients with various arthritic conditions, including age-related, injury-related, and inflammatory autoimmune disorders. Though arthritis can be challenging and painful, the right medical care and support can enhance your wellness, quality of life, and daily functioning. Request your appointment online, or call the office for your comprehensive consultation.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is the term for a multitude of conditions involving inflammation in one or more of your joints. Symptoms of arthritis include:
- Decreased mobility
Arthritis can cause joints to become deformed.
What causes arthritis?
A variety of factors can cause or exacerbate arthritis, and it isn’t always clear. Arthritis can be linked to:
- Uric acid crystals
- Underlying diseases
Risk factors for arthritis include:
- Family history
- Previous joint injuries
- Lifestyle factors, such as activity level and nutrition
Although there are several types of arthritis, there are a few that are the most common.
Osteoarthritis involves wear and damage to the cartilage in your joints over time. If it progresses, in more severe cases, it can cause bones to grind together, inflicting pain and limited movement.
An infection or an injury can hasten or even trigger osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis involves the body’s immune system attacking the lining of joint capsules, known as the synovial membrane. The joints become swollen and inflamed, and the disease process can eventually destroy bone and cartilage.
Other inflammatory arthritic conditions
Other inflammatory arthritic conditions, like ankylosing spondylitis, are said to be linked to numerous factors, including genetics, environmental factors, and bacteria.
Ankylosing spondylitis is painful and results in the immune system attacking itself, leading to widespread inflammation throughout the body and even affecting the eyes and areas in addition to the joints.
Eventually, the bones and cartilage can incur damage, and the spinal bones from the pelvis through to the neck can fuse together and hunch over.
How is arthritis diagnosed?
Nurse Washington performs a physical exam and checks your joints for signs of arthritis. You also discuss your medical history and your symptoms.
You might undergo additional testing, such as an ultrasound, MRI, X-ray, and blood, urine, and joint fluid tests.
What are the treatments for arthritis?
Treatments vary depending on the type of arthritis and include:
- Nutrition counseling
- Vitamin supplementation
- Exercise and stretching programs
- Splints, braces, or other assistive devices
- Weight loss if you’re carrying excess weight
- Heat and cold therapies, such as ice packs or a warm compress
- Medications, such as pain-relief, anti-inflammatory, steroids, and biologics
More severe cases can result in surgery, but often, other methods can prevent or delay the need for surgery.