About arthritis

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

Arthritis is a term derived from the Greek. “Arthron” meaning joint and “itis” meaning inflammation. It is a term that refers to more than 100 different conditions, most of which involve inflammation- swelling, heat, redness, and pain.

Since there are so many different types of arthritis, it is difficult to talk about specific therapies since the type of disease will dictate the type of therapy used.

Some forms of arthritis affect one gender more than another. For instance diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis affect women more often than men. On the other hand, diseases like gout and ankylosing spondylitis appear to be more common in men than women.

Arthritis often has a genetic component. For instance the occurrence of systemic lupus erythematosus is much higher in twins.

Arthritis can affect people of all ages. In fact 3 out of 5 people affected are younger than the age of 60. Even infants and children may get some types of arthritis.

Arthritis is a common problem, affecting almost 70 million people in the United States. Arthritis affects more than 750,000 new people every year.

The diagnosis of arthritis is made by history, physical examination, appropriate laboratory testing, imaging (x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging), and occasionally invasive procedures.

Some forms of arthritis are curable. An example would be septic arthritis where the treatment involving antibiotics and drainage can completely eradicate the disease.

Most forms of arthritis though, while treatable and controllable, are not curable. Remission is possible for many types of arthritis including the most common inflammatory type, rheumatoid arthritis.

While most people understand that arthritis can cause pain and disability, what many people don’t know is that some forms of arthritis can be life-threatening. Examples of potentially life-threatening types of arthritis include vasculitis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and some forms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Early diagnosis and treatment can often make the difference between good outcomes and bad.

Effective management of arthritis will involve non-medicine therapies as well as medicines. Non-medicine therapies include patient education, physical and occupational therapy, exercise, diet, appropriate weight control, assistive devices, and thermal modalities (heat or cold).

A variety of medicines are used to treat arthritis. The types of medicine chosen depends on the diagnosis, severity of disease, and patient factors (allergies, preference, etc.). Another factor involved in selection of therapy is patient co-morbidity, meaning the other medical problems a patient has.

The most common categories of medicines used are analgesics which block pain but not inflammation, anti-inflammatory drugs which block both pain as well as inflammation, and disease-modifying drugs which help to slow the progression of disease.

Get more information about arthritis and related conditions as well as...

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Click here Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

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