Arthritis: Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

Arthritis affects the joints, which are the areas where your bones meet and move. Arthritis is characterized by inflammation and/or degeneration (breakdown of the joints). These changes can lead to pain in the joints.

The following areas are the most common for arthritis:

  • Feet
  • Hands
  • Hips.
  • Knees
  • Lower back

What causes arthritis?

Different forms of arthritis can have different causes. Gout, for example, is caused by too much uric acids in the body. The exact cause of other forms of arthritis is not known. 

How is Arthritis Diagnosed?

The first step towards treatment is a diagnosis of arthritis. Your doctor will:

  • Take a look at your entire medical history. Include a description of your symptoms.
  • Perform a physical exam.
  • Take X-rays to determine the type of arthritis. X-rays can be used to diagnose arthritis. They often show a loss in cartilage, bone spurs and, in more severe cases, bone rubbing against each other.
  • Check your joint fluid. Joint aspiration (using an instrument to take a small amount of fluid from the joints for testing) or blood tests can be used to distinguish osteoarthritis from others.
  • Your doctor may suspect that you have an infection. If this is the case, he will test a small amount of fluid from the affected joints to confirm the diagnosis. This will determine the treatment plan.
  • You can test your urine and blood to determine the type of arthritis.
  • Rheumatoid factor (RF) blood tests are available for people suffering from rheumatoid. However, RF can also be found in other conditions.
  • The anti-CCP test, which is a more precise test for Rheumatoid Arthritis and measures blood levels (called the Anti-CCP test), tends to be higher in people with rheumatoid arthritis. It is possible to predict who will develop more severe rheumatoid-arthritis by looking at the presence of anti–CCP antibodies.

How is Arthritis Treated?

The treatment goal is to relieve pain, improve joint mobility and strength, as well as control the disease as far as possible. Your doctor can help you manage your pain, keep the joint healthy, and prevent further damage.

The treatment of arthritis can include rest, occupational therapy or physical therapy, joint protection and exercise. Sometimes, surgery may be necessary to correct damaged joints. You may need to use more than one.

Osteoarthritis can be treated with a variety of treatments. However, the condition may get worse. In the past, the same was true for Rheumatoid Arthritis. However, treatments can now slow down or stop arthritis progression.

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