Arthritis refers to a disorder of the joint(s) resulting in pain. But the term is not one-size-fits-all—there are many types of arthritis and conditions related to arthritis that can affect individuals, regardless of age, gender, or race.
Typical arthritis symptoms include joint pain, swelling and stiffness, and can range from occasionally bothersome to chronic and debilitating. Depending on how you experience symptoms, severe arthritis can make it difficult to complete daily activities like writing or walking and even sitting up comfortably.
But treatment is possible—by consulting a rheumatologist about your symptoms, you can get an accurate diagnosis of the type of arthritis you have and begin a comprehensive treatment plan aimed at improving your pain as well as your quality of life.
Two common types of arthritis:
This is known as “wear and tear” arthritis and is the most common type. If you have OA, the cartilage, or the protective layer between the ends of your bones, has started to wear down within one or more of your joints. Cartilage supports the bones and allows the joints to move comfortably in your body. But when it wears down, there is less of it to cushion the two bones between the joint. This leads to joint pain and stiffness, especially with activity. In addition, degenerative changes in the surrounding bones can lead to further deterioration of muscles and tendons and loss of mobility.
Osteoarthritis frequently affects small joints of hands and feet, and weight bearing joints such as knees and hips, and commonly involves the spine, especially in neck and low back region.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA):
This is a form of autoimmune inflammatory arthritis. Your immune system is designed to protect you from viruses, infections, and injuries by creating inflammation. With RA, your immune system begins to generate inflammation towards healthy tissue in your body. RA usually targets the lining or synovium of your joints, and can cause significant joint swelling and stiffness at rest, leading to irreversible destruction of the bone and cartilage if left untreated. RA is a systemic condition and the autoimmune mediated inflammation can affect other organ systems of the body.
RA frequently affects the joints in a symmetrical distribution and commonly targets hands wrists, feet, ankles as well as elbow and knee joints.
If you are experiencing symptoms of joint pain and are seeking an accurate diagnosis and comprehensive treatment plan, contact Dr. Veena Nayak at Southland Rheumatology Center. After completing a thorough evaluation with state of the art diagnostic blood tests and imaging as needed, we can provide you with an individualized treatment plan.
We utilize an integrative approach tailored to optimize your care, which may include medications and physical therapy as well as dietary modifications and supplements targeted towards treatment and prevention of arthritis.