Arthritis is a collective name for a vast group of diseases characterized by the development of inflammatory processes in the structure of the joints. It is manifested by pain, swelling, restricted movement and even joint deformity. Patients with arthritis may have difficulty performing normal daily tasks such as walking, lifting objects, or performing common simple movements.

Pain and limitations in movement lead to impairment of a person's physical activity, social isolation and psychological problems such as depression and anxiety. In addition, the disease can have a negative impact on patients' performance and independence, ultimately affecting their overall health and quality of life.

Types of Arthritis

Arthritis is manifested by a wide range of diseases including various forms and types.

  1. Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common forms of pathology. This is a systemic disease of connective tissue, characterized by chronic inflammation of the joints. The small joints of the hands and feet are most often affected symmetrically, but large joints, including knees and ankles, can also be affected.
  2. Psoriatic arthritis - develops in people with psoriasis, a chronic skin condition characterized by the appearance of red, scaly plates on the skin. This inflammatory condition can lead to pain, swelling and restricted joint movement, as well as changes in the nail plates.
  3. Inflammatory arthritis is a group of diseases characterized by inflammation of the joints and surrounding tissues. Ankylosing spondylitis (Bechterew's disease), inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis) and others can serve as a trigger for the development.

Each type of this pathology has its own characteristics, causes of development and methods of treatment. Understanding the differences between them helps doctors choose the most effective treatment strategy for each patient.

Causes of Arthritis

Arthritis is a multifactorial disease, and the causes of arthritis can vary.

The main causes are

  1. Genetic factor - hereditary traits increase the risk of developing the disease in offspring and family members.
  2. Autoimmune disorders - rheumatoid arthritis and other forms of the disease are often associated with autoimmune pathologies, in which the body's immune system attacks its own tissues, including joints. Which leads to inflammation, joint damage and the development of the disease.
  3. Inflammatory processes - inflammation is a key component of many forms of arthritis. And their prolonged course usually leads to joint damage and the development of pathologic processes.

In addition to genetic, autoimmune and inflammatory factors, other circumstances such as age, gender, injury, infections and metabolic disorders can increase the risk of developing the disease.

Symptoms and Signs

The symptoms of arthritis can be varied and individually depend on the type and degree of the disease. It is important to pay attention to its early signs and seek medical attention when they appear for timely diagnosis and treatment.

  1. Joint pain is one of the most common signs of arthritis. It can be of varying intensity, from moderate to severe, and can increase with movement or load on the joint.
  2. Swelling - inflammation of the joints leads to swelling, which manifests itself as an increase in their volume. It is accompanied by a feeling of heaviness and tension in the joints.
  3. Joint stiffness - manifested by limitation of joint mobility and stiffness. Patients may have difficulty performing normal movements such as bending or extending, especially in the morning.

The specific symptoms of arthritis may depend on the type of arthritis and where it affects. For example, patients with rheumatoid arthritis often experience pain and swelling in the joints of the hands and feet, including pain in the ankle and pain in the joint of the big toe. Psoriatic arthritis may be accompanied by psoriatic skin rashes and nail lesions.

Diagnostics: Understanding the Condition

Various methods are used to diagnose arthritis.

  1. Physical diagnosis - examining the joints and surrounding tissues for signs of inflammation such as swelling, redness and changes in joint shapes. Assessing mobility and checking for soreness with movement.
  2. Laboratory tests - urinalysis, complete blood count (CBC), blood tests to detect signs of inflammation and autoimmunity such as increased levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and rheumatoid factor (RF) antibodies, which are characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis.

Imaging methods

  1. Rentography - used to visualize changes: joint space narrowing, bone growths and bone destruction. This method helps to determine the extent of damage and monitor disease progression.
  2. Magnetic resonance imaging - provides more detailed images of the joints and surrounding tissues, allowing a more accurate assessment of their condition, inflammatory changes and the presence of damage.
  3. Ultrasound - can be used to visualize soft tissue and joint structures, determine the degree of inflammation and assess blood flow in the area.

These diagnostic methods are usually used in combination to determine an accurate diagnosis and assess the severity of the disease, which helps develop the best treatment plan for each patient.

Treatment Options for Arthritis

Arthritis treatment aims to alleviate symptoms, slow the progression of the disease, and prevent further joint damage.

The main treatment options are

  • Drug therapy - anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), injectable glucocorticosteroid drugs to reduce inflammatory reactions and pain, biological drugs - to suppress autoimmune processes that cause inflammation.
  • Physiotherapy - stretching exercises. To improve joint mobility and strengthen the surrounding muscles.
  • Cryotherapy and heat therapy - to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Massage - to relax muscles and relieve joint tension.

Surgical intervention

  1. Arthroplasty: surgical replacement of a joint with a prosthesis to improve function and reduce pain.
  2. Synovectomy: minimally invasive surgery to remove inflamed synovial tissue to reduce inflammation and pain.

Lifestyle changes will significantly increase the chances of recovery:

  • control your weight - this will reduce stress on your joints;
  • moderate exercise - this will maintain joint mobility and strengthen muscles;
  • avoid trauma and overexertion of the joints - this will prevent the condition from worsening.

Each case of arthritis is unique, and the treatment plan is developed by a doctor individually for each patient, taking into account the type of arthritis, its severity and body features.

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