Arthritis refers to the inflammation of joints. It is characterized by pain, swelling, and stiffness of the joints. The common risk factors of arthritis are injury, aging, and excess weight.
The most common types of arthritis are
- Osteoarthritis – It is often caused by aging or injury
- Rheumatoid arthritis – It refers to chronic inflammation of the small joints due to an autoimmune disorder
- Gout – It is caused due to deposition of uric acid crystals in the joints
- Psoriatic arthritis – It is observed in people affected by psoriasis
- Lupus – Chronic autoimmune disease that can affect joints and other organ systems
- Septic arthritis – Inflammation caused by an infection in a joint
Symptoms of arthritis
The following are the most common symptoms associated with arthritis:
- Signs of joint inflammation such as swelling, redness, and warmth
- Pain and tenderness at the joint
- Decreased range of motion
- Loss of appetite
Diagnosis of arthritis
If you suspect the symptoms of arthritis, consult your doctor. Physical examination, blood tests, radiographic and laboratory studies help in proving definitive diagnosis for arthritis.
The doctor would check for swelling, pain or tenderness at the joints, joint range of motion and muscle strength.
Blood tests help in identifying inflammation and specific set of antibodies that may indicate arthritis
Complete blood count (CBC)
CBC helps in assessing the general health of a patient. Alteration in the blood cell values are commonly seen in patients with arthritis.
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)
A sample of blood is collected in a tube and the settling rate of red blood cells is measured over the course of an hour. A high sedimentation rate indicates inflammation. Other conditions like infection and anemia can cause elevated ESR levels.
C-reactive protein (CRP)
CRP is a protein that is produced by the liver. A rise in the CRP levels is indicative of inflammation in the body.
Rheumatoid factor (RF)
This test helps in detecting the RF antibodies in the bloodstream. The normal range of RF antibodies in the blood is than 40 – 60 u/ml. High levels of RF may indicate that the patient may have rheumatoid arthritis.
Uric acid test
Uric acid blood test of done to diagnose gout. High levels of uric acid in the blood sample indicate that the patient may have gout.
X-ray – X-ray radiographs help in the clinical evaluation of arthritis. It helps to assess the severity of joint damage and bone erosion. It also indicates the presence of joint deformity.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – It gives a detailed image of the joint and the surrounding structures. MRI is useful to evaluate the extent of joint damage.
A sample of synovial fluid from the joints is drawn and studied. This test is done to detect conditions such as septic arthritis or gout.
How to treat arthritis?
Analgesics and corticosteroids are commonly prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation. Anti-rheumatic drugs slow down the progression of rheumatoid arthritis and prevent further joint damage. Hyaluronic injections may be given to patients having osteoarthritis. They help to reduce pain for up to 6 months.
Physical therapy aims at relieving pain, increase joint range of motion and strengthening the muscles around the joints. The doctor would prescribe specific exercises, to strengthen the muscles around the joint and to keep your joints flexible. Using modalities such as contrast baths, wax therapy, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation helps to relieve joint pain.
If medications and other treatments fail to provide relief, surgery is prescribed. Synovectomy, tendon repair, joint fusion and joint replacement are the commonly recommended surgeries, which are used to correct joint deformities.
Healthy joint, arthritic joint, joint replacement surgery
Management of arthritis
- Exercise: A physical exercise helps in increasing flexibility of the joints. Strength training helps in building muscle which protects the joint from injury.
- Healthy diet: Eat a healthy balanced diet by adding foods rich in anti-inflammatory and antioxidants properties. A diet rich in fish, nuts, fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grains, and olive oil helps in reducing inflammation.
- Watch your weight: Being overweight or obese can stress your bearing joints. Losing weight can help in reducing joint stresses and reduce joint damage.
Why choose Apollo Diagnostics?
We have the expertise of 34 + years in healthcare. Our labs are equipped with EQUAS (External Quality Assurance System) and loaded with full automated machines to ensure error free reports, with a quick turnaround time, and at an affordable price. For your convenience, we offer free home collection of samples.
For appointments, please call 4444 2424.
- Arthritis. https://medlineplus.gov/arthritis.html . Accessed on 27-10-2017
- The basics of arthritis. https://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/guide/arthritis-basics#1 . Accessed on 27-10-2017
- Arthritis symptoms. https://www.medicinenet.com/arthritis/article.htm . Accessed on 27-10-2017
- Complete blood count (CBC). https://rheuminfo.com/common-tests/complete-blood-count-cbc/ . Accessed on 27-10-2017
- Diagnosis and treatment. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/arthritis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20350777 . Accessed on 27-10-2017