There are mainly two types of arthritis: inflammatory arthritis and osteoarthritis. Inflammatory arthritis is a general term used for describing many diffearthritis like rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic rent forms of arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis that affects the body’s immune system.
With inflammatory arthritis, the body’s defense system begins to attack the body’s own joints and tissues instead of attacking the virus, germs or any other foreign substance. Once attacked, the joints become damaged, inflamed, stiff and painful. This is why inflammatory arthritis is also described as autoimmune disease. Osteoarthritis is a different form of arthritis and does not come under inflammatory arthritis.
Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Of Inflammatory Arthritis
Which Body Parts Are Affected?
Inflammatory arthritis can affect any joint of the body. The most commonly affected body parts are neck, shoulders, knees, hands, elbows, feet and hip.
Causes Of Inflammatory Arthritis
No definite cause has been identified for inflammatory arthritis. The possible cause can be accident, trauma, infection and environmental factors. Genetics may also play a major role for this inflammatory condition.
Risk Factors For Inflammatory Arthritis
Risks factors that involve the increasing chances of developing inflammatory arthritis are obesity, smoking, and blood transfusion etc. Women are more commonly affected by inflammatory arthritis than men.
Symptoms Of Inflammatory Arthritis
When inflammation occurs, the body releases chemicals into the affected tissues. Due to the release of the chemicals, blood flow to the affected area increases and often causes a leak of fluid to the injured or infected tissues and as a result of this, the area becomes inflamed. Redness, swelling and warmth may also occur and cause pain. Progression of the disease may differ from person to person.
For some people the symptoms are mild and for others it may cause severe damage to the different joints of the body, wearing down the cartilage and causing swelling to the joint lining. The person affected can experience restricted joint movement, severe pain and stiffness. The disease can even affect other organs of the body as well.
Treatments For Inflammatory Arthritis
Till date, there is no cure for inflammatory arthritis. But medical community has come up with a number of treatment options that can significantly reduce joint damage and minimize complications related to joint inflammation.
New drugs are available and treatment can begin much earlier. Various options available for treating inflammatory arthritis are medication, exercise, rest and lastly surgery that can correct joint damage.
Treatment Goal For Inflammatory Arthritis
Treatment is aimed at relieving patient from pain and improving their joint function. Anti-inflammatory drugs and pain killers (NSAIDs) are prescribed. Topical NSAIDs in the form of gels or creams are also advised to rub on the inflamed skin to get relief. Often combination of treatment is used to relieve patient from pain and inflammation. Patient is advised to take rest or modify his or her activity that aggravates pain.
To maintain joint mobility and increase muscle strength, physiotherapy and exercise programs for the surrounding joints are also designed. To reduce stress on joints and provide support, splints and braces are often used. Anti-rheumatic drugs are also given to some patient to stop the immune system from attacking the joints. A class of drug known as corticosteroids is often injected directly into the inflamed joint or taken orally to suppress immune system and bring relief to the patient.
When all these methods fail to provide relief, doctors can advice surgery like joint replacement which replaces the damaged joint with artificial joint. Most often, joint replacement is carried on hip or knee joint. For smaller joints like wrist, finger or ankle, fusion procedure is often used.