What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a generic term used to describe joint swelling, not a specific disease. Joints are areas of the body where bones meet, and they move upon one another. There are several conditions (over 100) that may cause swelling of a joint.
Some of the most common forms of arthritis are:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Psoriatic arthritis
What Causes Arthritis?
The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis. Physically, this is caused by excessive wear and tear on the joints. Other conditions may cause destruction of the tissues around the joints or mineral deposition in and around the joints and soft tissues.
There are several forms of arthritis that can occur. Each type has a different medical cause.
- Osteoarthrits: Deterioration of cartilage on the bone and the attachment areas of soft tissues.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: Autoimmune inflammatory disease that dmages the tissues around the joints.
- Gout: Uric acid crystals deposit in the joints (typically the big toe)
- Ankylosing spondylitis: The bones of the spine grow together. Can affect other joints.
- Lupus: Autoimmune disease causing an inflammatory process in he joints.
- Scleroderma: Autoimmune disease that thickens the soft tissues of the body.
- Psoriatic arthritis: Joints become inflamed in people suffering from psoriasis.
What are the Symptoms of Arthritis?
The majority of the conditions which cause arthritis typically have very similar symptoms, pain and joint swelling. There are some symptoms people may exhibit that will guide a physician to the correct diagnosis.
- Osteoarthritis: Individual joints, may not be a pattern or other condition associated.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: Bilateral and symmetric (the same joints on both sides of the body).
- Gout: Typically occurs in the big toe with tenderness to touch and redness.
- Ankylosing spondylitis:
- Lupus: Diagnosed with lupus. Typically does not affect the spine.
- Scleroderma: Diagnosed with scleroderma.
- Psoriatic arthritis: Diagnosed with psoriasis, joint inflammation usually starts at the fingers and toes, closest to the tips.
How to Prevent Arthritis?
- Maintain mobility health. Create good habits of warming up, stretching, exercising and maintaining a healthy weight. All of these activities help to reduce stresses placed on the joints and the supporting structures around them.
- Engage in proper ergonomics. Lifting properly and setting up work equipment to fit you correctly will reduce the chronic stresses placed on joints and soft tissues throughout the day.
- Reduce repetitive tasks. Take frequent breaks when tasked with performing repetitive or strenuous activities.
Arthritis Prevention Pathway
How is Arthritis treated?
Treatment for arthritis is typically conservative and includes rest, ice and medication to relieve pain and inflammation.
The True Costs of Arthritis?
- To You: direct costs of maximizing insurance deductibles and out of pocket max plus the costs of reduced quality of life, lost productivity due to time away from work, and potential disability.
- To Employers: direct costs of $26,000-$64,000 per case plus the cost of quality, lost productivity, absenteeism, and turnover.
- To the U.S. Economy: direct care costs over $300 billion every year plus the costs of lost productivity and disability.
How Common is Arthritis?
FAQs About Arthritis
Home treatment of rest, ice and medications are typically recommended for arthritis. Some people may require physical or occupational therapy. This may cost from several hundred to thousands of dollars per case. Severe cases of arthritis may require total joint replacement, especially in the hip and knee. These surgeries typically start at about $30,000. Overall treatment for arthritis in the US every year is estimated to be over $300 billion per year.
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