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Arthritis is very common but is not well understood. Actually, 'arthritis' is not a single disease; it is an informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions. People of all ages, sexes and races can and do have arthritis, and it is the leading cause of disability. More than 50 million adults and 300, 000 children have some type of arthritis. It is most common among women and occurs more frequently as people get older.
Common arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased the range of motion. Symptoms may come and go. They can be mild, moderate or severe. They may stay about the same for years, but may progress or get worse over time. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain, inability to do daily activities and make it difficult to walk or climb stairs. Arthritis can cause permanent joint changes. These changes may be visible, such as knobby finger joints, but often the damage can only be seen on x-ray. Some types of arthritis also affect the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys and skin as well as the joints.
There are different types of arthritis:
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. When the cartilage - the slick, cushioning surface on the ends of bones - wears away, bone rubs against bone, causing pain, swelling and stiffness. Over time, joints can lose strength and pain may become chronic. Risk factors include excess weight, family history, age and previous injury (an anterior cruciate ligament, or acl, tear, for example).
When the joint symptoms of osteoarthritis are mild or moderate, they can be managed by:
Balancing activity with rest
Using hot and cold therapies
Regular physical activity
Maintaining a healthy weight
Strengthening the muscles around the joint for added support
Using assistive devices
Taking over-the-counter (otc) pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medicines
Avoiding excessive repetitive movements
If joint symptoms are severe, causing limited mobility and affecting the quality of life, some of the above management strategies may be helpful, but joint replacement may be necessary.
Osteoarthritis can prevent by staying active, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding injury and repetitive movements.
A healthy immune system is protective. It generates internal inflammation to get rid of the infection and prevent disease. But the immune system can go awry, mistakenly attacking the joints with uncontrolled inflammation, potentially causing joint erosion and may damage internal organs, eyes and other parts of the body. Rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis are examples of inflammatory arthritis. Researchers believe that a combination of genetics and environmental factors can trigger autoimmunity. Smoking is an example of an environmental risk factor that can trigger rheumatoid arthritis in people with certain genes.
With autoimmune and inflammatory types of arthritis, early diagnosis and aggressive treatment are critical. Slowing disease activity can help minimize or even prevent permanent joint damage. Remission is the goal and may be achieved through the use of one or more medications known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). The goal of treatment is to reduce pain, improve function, and prevent further joint damage.
A bacterium, virus or fungus can enter the joint and trigger inflammation. Examples of organisms that can infect joints are salmonella and shigella (food poisoning or contamination), chlamydia and gonorrhea (sexually transmitted diseases) and hepatitis c (a blood-to-blood infection, often through shared needles or transfusions). In many cases, timely treatment with antibiotics may clear the joint infection, but sometimes arthritis becomes chronic.
Uric acid is formed as the body breaks down purines, a substance found in human cells and in many foods. Some people have high levels of uric acid because they naturally produce more than is needed or the body can't get rid of the uric acid quickly enough. In some people the uric acid builds up and forms needle-like crystals in the joint, resulting in sudden spikes of extreme joint pain, or a gout attack. Gout can come and go in episodes or, if uric acid levels aren't reduced, it can become chronic, causing ongoing pain and disability.
Arthritis diagnosis often begins with a primary care physician, who performs a physical exam and may do blood tests and imaging scans to help determine the type of arthritis. An arthritis specialist, or rheumatologist, should be involved if the diagnosis is uncertain or if arthritis may be inflammatory. Rheumatologists typically manage ongoing treatment for inflammatory arthritis, gout, and other complicated cases. Orthopedic surgeons do joint surgery, including joint replacements. When arthritis affects other body systems or parts, other specialists, such as ophthalmologists, dermatologists or dentists, may also be included in the health care team.
Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using a holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering. The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat arthritis but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. As far as therapeutic medication is concerned, several well-proved medicines are available for homeopathic treatment of arthritis that can be selected on the basis of cause, location, sensation, modalities and extension of the complaints. For individualized remedy selection and treatment, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor in person. Some important remedies are given below for the homeopathic treatment of arthritis:
Bryonia alba. - pain with inflammation which, is aggravated by movement and relieved by moderate pressure and rest.
Ledum pal. - excellent remedy for gout and rheumatism which is of ascending nature, better by cold application.
Rhus tox. - pain aggravated by first movement, damp weather and better by continuous motion.
Colchicum - pain worse by motion touch or mental effort, better by warmth and rest.
Kalmia lot. - descending type of pain, pain with palpitation of heart and slow pulse
Guaiacum. - gouty abscesses of joints, pain relieved by cold bath and cold application.
Calcaria carb. - arthritic swelling, knee pain especially in fleshy people which is worse by the cold.
Benzoic acid - gouty concretions of joints, knee pain due to abnormal deposition of uric acid
Hypericum. - the remarkable remedy for rheumatoid arthritis has outstanding action over nerve pain.