Arthritis

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Arthritis refers to a group of inflammatory joint diseases that cause pain, swelling, stiffness, and decreased mobility in affected joints. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, but the most common forms include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis (OA): This is the most prevalent form of arthritis and occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of bones wears down over time. It commonly affects weight-bearing joints such as the knees, hips, and spine, as well as the hands. Risk factors for osteoarthritis include aging, joint injury, obesity, and genetics.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): RA is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the synovium (the lining of the membranes that surround the joints), resulting in inflammation. This inflammation can eventually damage the joint cartilage and bone. RA commonly affects joints in the hands, wrists, and knees and can also cause systemic symptoms such as fatigue and fever.

Other types of arthritis include psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, gout, lupus-related arthritis, and juvenile arthritis, among others.

Treatment for arthritis aims to reduce pain, improve joint function, and prevent further damage. This may include medications such as pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), and biologic agents. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, lifestyle modifications (such as exercise and weight management), and assistive devices can also be helpful in managing arthritis symptoms.

While there is no cure for arthritis, early diagnosis and appropriate management can help individuals effectively manage their symptoms and maintain their quality of life. It’s essential for individuals with arthritis to work closely with healthcare professionals to develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to their specific needs and goals.

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