Effects On Your Daily Life
- See a doctor or other relevant healthcare professional if youre unable to do everyday tasks due to joint or muscle pain.
- If youve lifted something heavy and hurt your back, for example, take some painkillers, apply some heat and try to stay active. If the pain doesnt ease after a couple of weeks or so, see a doctor.
Its important to see a doctor if you get any new symptoms or if you have any trouble with drugs youre taking.
If you have an appointment with a doctor, to help make sure you get the most out of it, you could take a list of questions with you and tick them off as they are discussed.
You could also keep a symptoms diary with details of how youre feeling in between appointments. Some people find that taking a friend or relative with them to an appointment can provide support and ensure that all important points are discussed.
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Taking Control Of Osteoarthritis
It is important to understand that two joints that show the same cartilage loss on x-ray may behave very differently in terms of discomfort and limited function. The weak, stiff joint will be more painful and disabling than a joint with preserved strength and motion. And of course, additional factors such as body weight, other joint involvement and general health are also very important in determining the level of disability and quality of life. Patients who embark on a conservative course of treatment for arthritis are taking control of their condition and seeking the best possible outcome.
Certainly the place to begin is cultivating good general health, including cardiovascular conditioning. Dr. Jones also places a strong emphasis on maintaining a healthy body weight. “This is particularly important in individuals with arthritis of the hip, knee and low back, in whom excess pounds place a tremendous strain on the joint.”
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How Rheumatoid Arthritis Spreads
Nov. 9, 2009 — Cells surrounding joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis may spread the disease to other joints by traveling through blood vessels, according to a new study.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive disease that causes joint inflammation and destruction. Researchers say initially the disease starts out in just a few joints but soon spreads to other joints in the body.
Until now, the method of how the disease spreads from joint to joint was unknown. But a study in Nature Medicine suggests that cells called synovial fibroblasts may be to blame.
The cells, which are present in lining of the joints, are already implicated in the cartilage destruction associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
In the study, researchers implanted healthy human cartilage tissue plus synovial fibroblasts from people with rheumatoid arthritis into one side of lab mice. The opposite side was injected with healthy cartilage without the diseased fibroblasts.
After 60 days, the results showed that synovial fibroblasts had actively moved from one side of the mice’s body to the other via blood vessels and were already causing cartilage damage.
Researcher Stephanie Lefevre of the department of internal medicine and rheumatology at the Kerckhoff-Clinic, Bad Nauheim, Germany, and colleagues say the study supports the notion that the spread of rheumatoid arthritis between joints is at least partially due to the migration of affected synovial fibroblasts through the bloodstream.
What Outcome Can I Expect If I Have Arthritis In My Hands
There is no cure for arthritis. However, you can usually manage mild to moderate symptoms with a combination of medication and non-medication approaches. Surgery may be an option if other treatments fail or the arthritis in your hands is severe. Your healthcare provider will explain what outcome you can expect for your type and severity of arthritis, your age, other existing medical conditions and other factors.
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Cooking With The Kids
Every pound of excess weight you lose takes four pounds of pressure off your knees. So a healthy weight may mean less arthritis pain — particularly when you have knee osteoarthritis. Although no diet prevents arthritis or lessens its progression, a balanced diet is vital for weight management. Cook with the kids and whip up healthy muffins, casseroles, or breads.
Are There Any Other Treatment Options Being Investigated
For osteoarthritis, some clinical research trials are underway in the U.S. exploring stem cell treatment. Early findings are encouraging. Stem cell therapy so far has shown to provide some pain relief and improvement in function. The ultimate goal would hopefully be to use stem cells to regrow cartilage.
Over the past decade, researchers developed many new medications for psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, with more studies underway.
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Use A Supportive Device
People with arthritis will often avoid walking aids, which may make them feel old and frail. But the fact is that people who do so often walk less because they are either unsteady on their feet or afraid to place weight on a swollen joint. As such, avoiding these devices can make your condition worse.
Supportive devices are no longer limited to canes and walkers. People with knee arthritis can sometimes turn to a device known as an unloader brace, which selectively relieves pressure on the most damaged side of a joint. There are even rolling walkers that allow you to move more freely without the fits and starts of a standard walker.
While these newer devices won’t work for everyone, it may be worth speaking to your healthcare provider to see if they are the appropriate choice for you.
Make Some Key Lifestyle Changes
There are a few different things that you can impact through lifestyle changes that can have a positive impact on your health and arthritis. The first would be to maintain a healthy weight as sometimes being overweight can add pressure onto your joints that already are experiencing pain and inflammation. Hand-in-hand with this, is creating a regular exercise routine. Although it can be difficult to keep active, sticking to low-impact activities such as walking or swimming can be good options to keep your pain at bay.
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Exercise: Rx For Overcoming Osteoarthritis
Exercising may be the last thing you want to do when your joints are stiff and achy. But exercise is a crucial part of osteoarthritis treatment in order to ease pain and stay active.
Osteoarthritis is a chronic and progressive disease characterized by loss of the cartilage that covers and protects the ends of the bones where they meet at a joint. Without this protective coating, bone rubs against bone, causing irritation and inflammation. The result is pain and stiffness in the joint and often pain in the muscles and ligaments that surround it.
Osteoarthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States. Nearly equal numbers of women and men have the condition, but women tend to develop symptoms after age 55, about 10 years later than men do. It most often affects the hips, knees, spine, and hands.
Because most people diagnosed with osteoarthritis are older about half of those over 65 have it to some degree it’s long been considered a normal part of aging that reflects a lifetime of wear and tear on cartilage. But experts now know that many factors besides age are involved. Osteoarthritis risk can be inherited. An injury or disease may also kick off the deterioration. The rate of progression depends on genetics, biomechanical forces, and biological and chemical processes, all of which vary from person to person.
Arthritis Risk Factors And Symptoms
Risk factors for arthritis include aging, genetics, obesity, trauma to the joint and abnormal anatomy. There are also secondary symptoms that occur after developing arthritis. For example, after developing lower-body arthritis, people typically become more sedentary. After developing upper-body arthritis, people commonly refrain from using the affected limb or appendage.
In both cases, this lack of use can lead to reduced muscle development. Once chronic arthritis sets in, it can lead to severe pain and loss of function of the joint.
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More Tips For Your Hands
Moving your hands and fingers can help keep your ligaments and tendons flexible and increase the function of synovial fluid. Try regular hand exercises to strengthen muscles and relieve stiffness and pain. Simple exercises like flexing and bending, finger touching, and finger sliding may help keep your fingers limber.
Staying physically active while at the same time taking extra precautions against injury is vital not only for preventing arthritis, but also for your overall physical health.
Balancing Rest And Activity
Both work and leisure activities are important but you can overdo them. Take short breaks and alternate heavy and light activities during the day. Pace yourself by learning to balance periods of work with rest breaks so you don’t place too much stress on your joints or get too tired. You may need to take longer or more frequent rest breaks when your disease is more active.
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Why Do Other People’s Perceptions Matter
Many people think of arthritis as an old person’s disease or something that causes minor aches and pains. At the other extreme are those people who believe that nothing can be done for arthritis and that those who get it can expect to end up in a wheelchair. You may be accused of making too much of your arthritis or viewed with pity by people who think you’re on the verge of becoming totally disabled. You may feel put down if you’re told what you can’t do by an uninformed public or a well-meaning family member who just wants to protect you.
The negative perceptions of others may be among the most difficult challenges you have to face. When family and friends misunderstand you they may not be able to provide the support you need.
Misconceptions held by employers and the public can make it more difficult for you to work or get the services you need.
But you don’t have to accept other people’s ideas about you or your illness. Learn as much as you can about arthritis so you can have a realistic attitude about your condition. Then deal with people’s misinformed notions in a positive fashion. At times you may want to ignore comments from misguided friends. At other times you will want to explain your condition as soon as you become aware that someone has misconceptions. In a matter-of-fact way talk about arthritis and how it affects you. By educating others you can help promote a better understanding of arthritis.
What Causes Arthritis In Children
Most cases fall under idiopathic rheumatoid arthritis. This is because the type of joint degradation that leads to osteoarthritis is unlikely to occur in young, growing children.
Any sort of rheumatoid arthritis, regardless of the age of the patient, is caused by the immune system attacking the joints. While your body needs inflammatory responses to fight diseases, they also cause the painful symptoms of arthritis.
Unfortunately, there is no known cause of idiopathic rheumatoid arthritis . The disease occasionally runs in families, so heredity might play a role. The disease is also more common in boys than girls, though the reason for this is not known.
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How Does Arthritis Change Lives
Almost all people living with arthritis find that it affects their lives in some way. It can affect their everyday activities, their jobs their financial resources, or their relationships with family and friends.
Arthritis is not easy to live with but there is much you can do to change, overcome, or cope with the problems it presents. Your doctor and other members of your health care team can recommend medications, special exercises, joint protection techniques and devices and other self-care activities. Keeping a positive attitude is also important. A positive attitude will let you see solutions to your problems in a better light.
Arthritis In The Workplace
If arthritis is interfering with your job perhaps there are a few simple changes you could make to ease the pain and stress on your joints while working.
Consider trying the following:
- scheduled rest periods
More specific suggestions on how to manage the symptoms of arthritis at work are included in the articles on work and arthritis and using joints wisely.
If the severity of your symptoms makes it impossible for you to continue working in your present career state vocational rehabilitation agencies can help you discover new job possibilities and assist you with any needed retraining or job placement. State employment offices also provides job referrals. Neither agency charges for its services and both can be found under the “state” listings in your phone book.
For more information about job retraining consult the article on vocational rehabilitation.
Today there are educational programs for people of all ages and for all the reasons people seek education. Most college campuses and other public buildings have made changes that allow and encourage people with physical limitations to participate more fully in their educational programs.
For more information consult the article on college and arthritis.
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Can Arthritis In The Hand Be Prevented
Arthritis cant be prevented. However, you can watch for symptoms of arthritis as you age and see your healthcare provider if you notice changes in your joints. You can also take steps to control factors that you can control. Eat healthy to nourish your body and maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight puts more stress on your joints. Dont smoke. Smoking increases your risk of arthritis.
Ways To Protect Your Joints
You donât have to give up the things you love to do. Just look for ways to do them that take the stress off your joints.
The way you walk, sit, stand, or hold things can help. Change your position at work, at home, and throughout the day. Sit and stand up straight, and don’t arch your back. Good posture helps you feel better.
Make these three things a habit:
1. Pace yourself. Switch between heavy, hard, or repetitive tasks and light or easy tasks. Make sure you take breaks.
2. Be kind to your joints. Put as little stress on them as possible. Use larger, stronger joints when you can, instead of smaller ones. For example, wear a shoulder bag rather than a handheld purse.
3. Get an assist. Many helpful devices — like canes, grab bars, extra-thick pens, luggage carts, or sit/stand stools — can make your day easier. Ask an occupational therapist which ones would help you.
It’s natural to have flare-ups, but then you’ll have times where you feel better. If you notice any new symptoms, tell your doctor. Thatâll help keep things in check so you don’t have more joint damage. You can keep your symptoms under control with treatment.
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How Long Does It Take To Recover From Hand Surgery
Recovery time depends on many factors, including the severity of your condition, type of surgery you had, the skill of your surgeon and your compliance with therapy. Most people can return to their activities about three months after joint reconstruction surgery. Your team of caregivers can give you the best estimate of your particular recovery time.
Fight Back Against Arthritis
So what can you do? The good news is that there are risk factors for osteoarthritis that women can target for arthritis prevention. Start with these important steps.
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