Arthritis is a medical condition associated with joint inflammation. However, this term is also used for other joint problems, caused not by the inflammation. For instance, osteoarthritis is a condition caused by degeneration of joint and cartilage, not by the inflammation. As there are a lot of types of arthritis (more than 100), the terminology used for its naming may be rather confusing. In this article we will consider what inflammatory arthritis is.
The term “inflammatory arthritis” is self-explanatory, it is used for naming autoimmune diseases that are caused by inflammation and involve the immune system. Normally the immune system produces antibodies to kill bacteria and infections. In autoimmune diseases the immune system tries to attack the body’s cells and tissues, this causes pain and inflammation. Autoimmune diseases may affect people of any age. The most common forms of this type include:
- psoriatic arthritis, a chronic disease that occurs when a person suffer both from psoriasis and arthritis;
- rheumatoid arthritis, which is a chronic disease characterized by inflammation and deformation of joints;
- ankylosing spondylitis, previously referred to as Bekhterev syndrome, or inflammation of axial skeleton;
- reactive arthritis (also called Reiter syndrome), an autoimmune condition characterized by inflammation of the joints and tendon attachments caused by the infection.
The symptoms of different types of the disease are similar:
- pain and swelling of joint;
- warmth and redness of the inflamed area;
- stiffness, especially in the morning or after sitting of lying for a long time;
- difficulties in motions;
- fever, fatigue and headache may be experienced in some cases.
Treatment of the inflammatory arthritis
There is no cure for these medical conditions, but the symptoms are treated rather effectively. To make a diagnose, the doctor checks the patient’s medical history, performs physical examination, X-Ray, blood test and some other tests. Then the doctor prescribes the best treatment depending on the patient’s age and condition, type and stage of the disease. The main aims of the treatment are to relieve the symptoms, to prevent the inflammation from aggravation, and to improve joints mobility and flexibility. Below are the main means of treatment:
- avoiding activities that provoke pain;
- using canes or braces to decrease pressure on the joints;
- relieving pain and swelling with anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen);
- improving joint functions with physical exercises;
- doctors may recommend to keep a diet, notably to avoid junk foods and dairy products;
- surgery is required in severe cases, when it is difficult to manage the symptoms.
There is no way to prevent inflammatory arthritis, but it is possible to slow down the development of the disease and to eliminate its symptoms effectively by keeping the doctor’s recommendations and prescriptions. It is a common mistake, when people neglect the first signs of the disease and do not consult the doctor unless the symptoms become severe. In fact you should start treatment as soon as possible, as it is the only way to prevent it from aggravation and avoid surgical intervention.
These articles can be used for informational purposes only. To get an accurate diagnosis consult your doctor!
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