Great, you want to braid your grand daughter’s hair but you have….(drum roll please) Arthritis. What is Arthritis? It is that one Uncle you didn’t invite to a family reunion but the uninvited decided to barge in and crash the party anyway. It is a fancy term for joint inflammation and it is the leading causes of disability in America. There are at least 100 types of arthritis. People mistake this disease for only happening to elderly people but in actuality, it can happen to people of all ages, sexes, races, in other word, it doesn’t give a care who you are. However, it is common in elderly people because it occurs more as people age, but 50 million adults as over 300,000 children have some form of arthritis. It is most common in women. (Sorry ladies.) Now that we discovered what Arthritis is, let’s break it down even further and look at types of arthritis.
TYPES OF ARTHRITIS
As I have mentioned above, there at least 100 types which are:
- ankylosing spondylitis
- juvenile idiopathic arthritis
- reactive arthritis
- rheumatoid arthritis
- septic arthritis
- thumb arthritis
Today we are going to look at the most main types of arthritis which are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
What the Heck is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
RA is basically when your body attacks its own tissues and joints. Yep, here you are and your own body is attacking itself.. and you find yourself wondering “I thought the body was supposed to protect me and fight against foreigners but how is it attacking itself.” That is a great question my friend and some of the answers could lie in your family’s history, your sex (women get it the most), being obese and if you had any previous injury. Also it is a chronic disease that will go in periods of remission then flares back up again. Annoying? Yeah, I bet. There is no cure for this but there are treatment and some things steps you can take to help your RA! But first, let’s look at the signs.
The Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Fatigue (Great)
- Joint pain (obviously)
- Joint tenderness (aw man)
- Joint swelling (ouch)
- Joint redness (Well, red is a good look on me anyway)
- Joint warmth (no fair)
- Joint stiffness (hard to move..hmm what else?)
- Loss of joint range of motion (You can’t take me RA!)
- Limping (eh… I just hurt my leg)
- Joint deformity (so…plastic surgeon?)
- Many joints affected (polyarthritis) (It’s okay, I’m not alone)
- Both sides of the body affected (symmetric) (wow, at least it matches)
- Loss of joint function (I’ll just use oil)
- Anemia (Well, I can just become a vampire)
- Fever (Motrin?)
- Depression (Sigh)
What the Heck is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is basically a fancy term for the “Wear and tear of the joints over time” or degenerative joint disease. Approximately 27 million Americans are affected. OA occurs often in hips, knees, lower back and neck but can also affect any joint. So normally, your joints would have a firm, kind of cushion type material called cartilage. Cartilage basically provides a cushion or is a pillow for your bones. But when you have OA, that cartilage breaks down which causes pain, inflammation around the joint and it worsens over time. There are also these little growths called spurs. This disease most likely will occur in people that are older than 60+ years of age. The common factors on why you may get OA or have OA is age, obesity, previous injury, overuse of the joint, and genes.
The Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
It depends on what joint is affected. The most common type though is pain and joint stiffness typically around the morning or resting after being a couch potato hooked in on your favorite soap opera and you happen to fall asleep.
Okay, Now Tell me How to Deal with My Arthritis
Now that you got information on the two main types of arthritis and maybe you have one of these types of arthritis. What are certain foods or activities you can do to help ease those joints?
Top Exercises for Rheumatoid/Osteoarthritis
- Stretching- stretching allows flexibility, reduce stiffness and increases range of motion.
- Cycling- RA also increases your risk of having heart disease so riding a stationary bike can keep that heart-healthy!
- Walking- walking is just good for you in general, but make sure you get the proper shoes.
- Swimming- Swimming is another great exercise, immerse yourself in some H2O, just like stretching it can increase range of motion, reduce stiffness and great for aerobic conditioning
- Hand exercises- spread your fingers out on the table, squeezing a stress object or even bending your wrist up and down can help work those kinks out.
- Strength training- RA and OA does a great job making you feel weak, but gain that strength back using a resistance band and if you have a trainer, find out what best exercise works for you.
Now, don’t let that Uncle of yours that you did not invite crash the party again!