Arthritis is inflammation in one or more joints in the body. The most common form is osteoarthritis, where the surface layer of cartilage breaks down and wears away, allowing bones under the cartilage to rub together. The result is pain, swelling, and loss of motion of the joint.
Over time, the joint may lose its normal shape and bone spurs may grow on the edges of the joint. Bits of bone or cartilage can break off and float inside the joint space. This causes more pain and damage.
Types of Arthritis
How Common Is It?
What Causes It?
How Is It Diagnosed?
Best Treatment Options
Can it Be Prevented?
What Should You Do Next?
There are four major categories:
- Degenerative arthritis (Example: osteoarthritis, degenerative joint disease).
- Inflammatory arthritis (Examples: rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis).
- Crystal deposition arthritis (Example: gout).
- Infectious arthritis.
When people say they have "arthritis", it's usually osteoarthritis, commonly referred to as "wear and tear" arthritis.
It is estimated that 40 million Americans have osteoarthritis. 70%-90% of people older than age 75 have osteoarthritis in at least one joint.
It's not known exactly what causes osteoarthritis. However, there are many risk factors that are known to be involved in its development.
- Age older than 50
- History of immobilization
- Injury to the joint
- Joint hypermobility or instability
- Obesity (weight-bearing joints)
- Prolonged occupational or sports stress
- Congential or developmental disorders
- Endocrine problems (hypothyroidism, excess estrogen, insulin sensitivity, increased growth hormone levels, low somatomedin levels)
- Hereditary factors
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Typically affects multiple joints, often symmetrical
- Pain, deep aching in joints
- Joint pain (arthralgia) with motion
- Joint pain at rest (later disease)
- Joint stiffness, may be related to weather
- Morning joint stiffness, which lasts under 30 minutes
- Commonly affects: hips, knees, spine (especially neck and sacroiliac joint of the pelvis), hands
- Decreased range of motion (as osteoarthritis progresses)
- Joint tenderness
- Joint crepitus or grating sensations
- Joint deformities (nodes, etc.).
No single test can diagnose osteoarthritis. Most physicians use a combination of the following methods to diagnose the disease and rule out other conditions:
- Physical examination
- Laboratory testing to rule out other forms of arthritis
- ESR (Sedimentation rate)
- X-Ray of the joint
- Synovial fluid analyses
Osteoarthritis can best be prevented by maintaining an optimal body weight, eating a nutrient-rich diet, exercising moderately (avoiding overuse and injury), and limiting the modifiable risk factors listed above.
The doctors at The Connecticut Center for Health are very experienced in the treatment of arthritis. If you have (or suspect you have) arthritis symptoms and want to learn more about natural treatments for this condition, we recommend that you contact one of our clinics for a free consultation about arthritis for an appointment.Return to Natural Solutions for any Health Problem