Are You Suffering From Osteoarthritis or Rheumatoid Arthritis?

There are more than 100 types of arthritis, a condition that affects more than 46 million adults in the U.S. Arthritis means “joint inflammation” and is used to describe the different diseases and conditions that affect joints, the tissues that surround joints, and other connective tissue. Two of the most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Common Causes

Typically, the pain associated with arthritis is caused by joint damage. Different forms of arthritis have different causes, risk factors, and effects on the body. For example, in osteoarthritis, wear-and-tear damage to cartilage can result in a bone grinding directly on another bone, which causes pain and restricts movement.

Risk Factors

However, in rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system attacks its joint and inflames the synovium—the thin membrane that lines the joint capsule—causing redness, swelling and pain.

Risk factors of arthritis include:

  • Family history: Some types of arthritis run in families.
  • Age: The risk of arthritis increases with age.
  • Sex: Women are more likely than men to develop rheumatoid arthritis, while men are more likely to develop gout, another form of arthritis.
  • Previous joint injury: A previous sports accident or trauma that injures a joint can be a precursor to arthritis.
  • Obesity: Excess pounds put stress on the joints of the knee, hips, and spine, and can lead to arthritis pain. For every 10 pounds of weight loss, there is a 30-pound decrease of pressure on the knees.

Symptoms

Common symptoms of arthritis include:

  • Joint pain
  • Joint swelling
  • Reduced ability to move the joint
  • Redness of the skin around a joint
  • Stiffness, especially in the morning
  • Warmth around a joint

Diagnosis

A physical exam can detect certain signs of arthritis, including fluid around a joint; warm, red, tender joints; and difficulty moving a joint.

Depending on the type of arthritis suspected, some of the following tests might be suggested:

  • A joint fluid test can help confirm a diagnosis of arthritis. Joint fluid is obtained by inserting a needle into the joint space.
  • Imaging tests such as a CT scan and MRI can be used to examine bone, tendons, ligaments and surrounding soft tissues.
  • Arthoscopy can reveal damage in the joint by inserting a small, flexible tube—called an arthoscope—through an incision near the joint to transmit images from inside the joint.

Treatment Options

The goal of arthritis treatment is to reduce pain, improve function, and prevent further joint damage. The underlying cause of arthritis cannot be cured. The most effective treatment for arthritis depends on the type of arthritis being treated—and the condition of the patient.

At PMIR, we offer a variety of treatment options for arthritis that includes:

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