According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), arthritis affects more than one in five adults in the United States and is the country’s leading cause of disability. In this article, representatives from United Methodist Homes (UMH) of New Jersey answer the most commonly asked question about this condition.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a term used to describe more than 100 different rheumatic diseases and conditions – those that affect the joints, surrounding tissue and connective tissues. Some forms of arthritis can also affect the immune system and specific internal organs.
What are the symptoms of arthritis?
Although different rheumatic disorders have different symptoms, arthritis is generally linked to the slow but progressive development of joint pain, inflammation and stiffness. The symptoms are also usually more severe in the early morning or after a period of inactivity.
What are the most common types of arthritis?
- Osteoarthritis: This is a chronic disease that affects only the joints, causing progressive pain and stiffness. Joint pain is usually felt after repetitive use or long periods of inactivity. Severe cases lead to friction between the bones of the joints as protective cartilage is worn away. It is treated with low-impact activities, healthy weight maintenance and anti-inflammatories.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: This chronic autoimmune disease attacks the joints and other body parts. Symptoms can include joint pain and swelling and stiffness and warmth of the affected site. It can flare up and fade, often due to strenuous use or inactivity of the joint, but it cannot be cured. Usually, treatment involves nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids or disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, or a combination of these treatments.
- Gout: This is caused by high levels of uric acid in the body that form crystals in the joints. If untreated, these crystals can form tophi (lumps) within the joints and surrounding tissue. Gout can flare up quickly and without warning, leading to pain and inflammation. It is often treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids. After the attack dies down, medication and lifestyle changes can be implemented to reduce the risk of another attack.
Community-based senior living solutions for an independent lifestyle
At United Methodist Homes of New Jersey, we offer a wide range of tailored support services for older adults in an environment that delivers the highest quality of life. Designed to enhance independence, our assisted living and senior living residential facilities are designed to assist your loved one’s individual needs, and to scale these services at any point if a different level of care is needed. In addition to catering to independent seniors, we are also able to provide respite care and long-term care, as well as assist the needs of residents with conditions such as arthritis.
This content was originally posted at http://www.umh-nj.org/blog/your-senior-health-guide-to-arthritis/