The Many Manifestations Of Arthritis

Most people know that arthritis is an inflammation of the joints, which leads to joint pain. But arthritis is a generic term for dozens and dozens of different types of arthritis, many of which have unique symptoms and require different approaches to treatment.

For example, gout, the condition that causes an unbelievably painful big toe, is just one type of arthritis. It is caused by excess purines breaking down into uric acid crystals that then find their way to the two joints in the big toe.

Once they get there, the crystals act like sharp needles, causing such severe pain, most sufferers can't even handle the weight of a bed sheet on their foot. Thankfully, many people can reduce the severity of the attack simply by drinking tart cherry juice and cutting back on beer and red meat in the future. Some never have another attack again.

Other types of arthritis can be far more complicated and chronic, however. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks itself and the joints become stiff, inflamed, swollen, red, hot, and causes general malaise. It is a chronic condition, although it may inexplicably go into remission periodically. In juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, other organs may be affected, but many children often outgrow this condition and don't carry it into adulthood.

Osteoarthritis can cause the same stiff and painful joints, but this type of arthritis is due to wear and tear on the joints and is a degenerative joint disease rather than an autoimmune disease. Those who have psoriasis, a skin condition, will sometimes develop psoriatic arthritis. In addition to join pain, many with psoriatic arthritis develop scaly or shiny rashes over the joints, have chronically swollen fingers and toes that resemble hot dogs, and have problems with their finger and toenails. They often get eye infections, too.

How Is Arthritis Treated?

Almost all forms of arthritis cause some sort of pain. This is usually in the joints, but it can also be in the tendons where they meet bone or in the surrounding muscles. Thankfully, your physician has many medications at his disposal to deal with this symptom. Those with psoriatic arthritis may also be prescribed topical medications. Mentholated ointments may be used in those with rheumatoid arthritis. Surgery in the form of hip or knee replacements is common in those with osteoarthritis.

Changing your diet and losing weight as well as low-impact exercise, such as swimming, can also be useful tools in treating arthritis. Cutting out sugar, saturated and trans fats, peanut and vegetable oils, the refined carbohydrates found in white bread, white rice, and white flour, and gluten and casein milk protein can all dramatically improve symptoms.Contact a clinic, like Sarasota Arthritis Center,  for more help.