Arthritis is usually caused by inflammation of the tissue lining the joints. Some signs of inflammation are redness, heat, pain, and swelling. If you are experiencing any or more of these symptoms and also mild to severe pain, it is time to consult your doctor. Joints, as you might be aware, are the points where two bones meet, such as elbow or knee. Over time, in some types of arthritis but not in all, the joints involved can become severely damaged. Arthritis may affect other organs, such as eyes, chest, or your skin.
There are many types of arthritis. The most common ones are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, usually develops with age and most often affects the fingers, knees, and hips. It is also common that osteoarthritis follows an injury to a joint.
>Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition when body's own defense system stops working properly. It affects joints and bones (often of the hands and feet), and may also affect internal organs and systems. The affected person may feel sick or tired, and may have a fever.
Gout is another type of arthritis and caused by crystals that build up in the joints. It generally affects the big toe, but many other joints may be affected. Lupus, a condition in which the body's defense system can harm the joints, the heart, the skin, the kidneys, and other organs, and also infection that gets into a joint and destroys the cushion between the bones, can also cause arthritis.
Usually, most types of arthritis cause pain in joints. You might have trouble moving around. Some kinds of arthritis can affect different parts of your body. Athritis may come along fever, weight loss, troubled breathing, and a rash or itch.
Only your doctor can tell if you have arthritis or a related condition and what to do about it. The doctor will examine you and may take x rays (pictures) of your bones or joints. He may also ask you for few blood tests that will help him decide what kind of arthritis you may have. He may then give you a prescription for medicine that will help with the pain, stiffness, and inflammation.
There are dozens of medicines available over-the-counter and by prescription to treat the various forms of arthritis. However, your doctor is the best judge to decide what or which medicines you require depending upon the type of arthritis you have. Following is a brief information on various types of medicines available for arthiritis:
The topical pain relievers over-the counter medicines which are applied topically to get quick relief from pain. It is useful when arthritis is in just a few joints like hand or when pain isn't severe.
Almost everyone with arthritis has to take one of these Anti-Inflammatory Medicines to get relief from the symptoms of arthritis (joint swelling, stiffness, and pain). These anti-inflammatory medicines for arthritis are available over-the-counter and prescription.
Although steroids are effective and powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that can treat many forms of arthritis including rheumatoid arthritis, plus lupus and other forms of inflammation such as vasculitis, they have many side effects, especially when taken as a pill.
Narcotic pain relievers help with pain but don't relieve joint inflammation. Often they are combined with other medicines like Tylenol (acetaminophen) or an anti-inflammatory medicine to enhance their effects. Narcotic Pain Relievers can cause constipation, urinary problems, and sedation. There are chances of developing dependency on narcotic drugs.
Hyaluronan Injections are injected directly into the affected joint and can help reduce the pain in a knee affected by osteoarthritis by increasing mobility and allowing more activity. Also called as viscosupplementation, several version of hyaluronan injections are available.
These drugs are used to treat certain forms of inflammatory arthritis such as psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis and must be administered by intravenous (by vein) infusion or by an injection and they are more expensive than other arthritis medicines. Biologic response modifiers (biologics) work by altering the function of the immune system that attacks the joints.
There are medicines available to relieve the pain and swelling and reduce uric acid levels caused by gout. Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs) which work by interfering with or suppressing the immune system that attacks the joints in people with certain forms of inflammatory arthritis are also used. Also, chemotherapy, traditionally used to treat cancer, helps people with certain inflammatory and autoimmune diseases because it slows cell reproduction and decreases certain products made by these cells that cause an inflammatory response to occur.