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Arthritis. When your joints demand medical attention.

Inflammation in the joints – acute or chronic, defines arthritis. Diseased joints may be painful, stiff, deformed, and unable to move. When you develop these symptoms, your joints demand medical attention, and you shouldn’t delay. In today’s article, we will highlight some of the causes of arthritis you ought to know.

More than 100 different types exist: you cannot take the same medications for all of them. It’s the reason you should seek medical attention for any suspected joint disease. Most of the arthritides have overlapping clinical features: others are distinct. But all, if undiagnosed and go untreated, will cripple your quality of life.

Arthritis may be inflammatory or non-inflammatory. Non-inflammatory arthritides include degenerative arthritis and osteoarthritis. Arthritides due to inflammation may be due to autoimmune processes, deposition of crystal salts within the joints, or infections. A few connective tissue diseases due to autoimmunity are associated with arthritis. They include systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma: inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, and Sjogren syndrome, among others.

Autoimmune processes that lead to arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, et cetera. Deposition of crystals within the joints may lead to gout and pseudogout. Septic and Lyme’s arthritis are infectious.

Regardless of the type, you will have to check-in at a medical facility to have a detailed rapport with the doctors, do some lab work, diagnosis and eventual treatment. You cannot survive on over-the-counter medications to treat your arthritides.

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Rheumatoid arthritis has both specific investigations and medications. Septic arthritis requires urgent surgery or else, you will have no joints to use after they stiffen. Some arthritides may be part of a more sinister systemic illness: like systemic lupus erythematosus, psoriasis, systemic sclerosis, dermatomyositis, inflammatory bowel disease, or mixed connective tissue disease. All these are conditions that require extensive workup to confer appropriate therapy.

Most arthritides will require more than one drug to remit. Others have no cure but, the doctors can provide medications to alleviate symptoms. You will have to understand all of this to cope up with diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Arthritis. When your joints demand medical attention.
A team of doctors diagnose human bone.
Getty Images

Treatment is often an interprofessional team approach. It may include your primary care clinician, nurses: orthopaedic surgeon, physical therapy, dietician, rheumatologist, pharmacist, and pain specialist, among others.

So, as you can visualise, not every joint disease is osteoarthritis, which will require supplements and pain killers. It may be something more, so pop in at your preferred hospital and discuss your complaints with a clinician. Your healthy must always be your priority. Should you want to read more about joint diseases, read here.

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MBChB (MUK), Graduate Fellow, Department of Physiology, Makerere University Founder and Content Creator Peer reviewer, Associate Editor

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