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  • What is Arthritis?

    Arthritis refers to inflammation of the joints. You will usually experience pain and swelling of the joints. Arthritis can occur in small joints such as the fingers and large joints such as the hip or knee. Your joints can become stiff or deformed, resulting in decreased mobility and increased disability.

    There are two types of Arthritis:

    • Osteoarthritis, which is the most common form
    • Rheumatoid Arthritis or Gout, or Inflammatory Arthritis
    • Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease caused by overuse of the affected joint(s). Although it is usually a disease of ageing, young people can also have Osteoarthritis from previous sports injuries.
    • Rheumatoid Arthritis is caused by the immune system attacking your body instead of protecting it, causing inflammation of the joints.
  • Osteoarthritis gets worse as the day progresses. By the evening, you are likely to have a dull ache in the affected joint.

    Other symptoms of arthritis include:

    • A sensation of grating or grinding in the affected joint caused by rubbing of the damaged cartilage surfaces (called crepitation)
    • Changes in surrounding joints
    • Cysts in your hand that may cause ridging or dents in the nail plate of the affected finger
    • Pain
    • Stiffness of the affected joints
    • Swelling of the affected joints
    • Warmth — The joint may feel warm to the touch
  • Treatment includes:

    • Exercise — To help maintain the strength of your muscles and ligaments to stabilise your joints
    • Medicines:
      1. Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs for Rheumatoid Arthritis
      2. Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs to reduce pain, swelling and stiffness in Osteoarthritis
      3. Steroids can occasionally be injected directly into a joint to relieve pain and swelling
    • Physiotherapy — For exercises to stabilise the joint
    • Surgery — To correct joint deformity or to replace a badly damaged joint
  • Rheumatoid arthritis can affect many of the organs in your body. Therefore, treatment is important to prevent anaemia, fibrosis of the lung, risk of heart attacks and strokes, and some cancers.

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