What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a condition that is most commonly associated with older adults, but young adults can be affected as well. Additionally, to make things more complicated, there are different types of arthritis.
Caregivers may feel overwhelmed by the amount of information available on various forms of the condition. There are many resources, but certain studies or best practices may not pertain to the specific type that their loved ones are experiencing. Providing the best care involves learning as much about the general ailment as possible before finding out more about the specific type.
Know the meaning
The term "arthritis" refers to a number of conditions that cause joint pain, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center pointed out.
There are many reasons why arthritis may occur - it may appear on its own or be a result of another condition or an accident. The U.S. National Library of Medicine stated that the most common form is osteoarthritis, but others include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis (in adults)
- Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Gonococcal arthritis
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Systemic lupus erythemtosus
- Reactive arthritis.
Regardless of what type of arthritis a loved one has, dealing with the condition can be extremely difficult. Loved ones will likely have trouble with mobility, especially if it occurs in a weight-bearing joint.
Understanding the causes
To know what causes arthritis, caregivers and loved ones must first understand a few terms. Cartilage is the material that covers the ends of bones where joints meet, to keep them from rubbing against one another. Synovium refers to the fluid that is found between cartilage. The cartilage and synovium work together to provide smooth movement of the joint without any pain, noted The Patient Education Institute.
Arthritis happens when the cartilage and synovium& become inflamed or damaged. Osteoarthritis occurs when there is too much wear and tear in the joint and usually takes place in weight-bearing joints. Rheumatoid arthritis results from the destruction of synovium, which leads to deterioration of the underlying joint. The exact causes of rheumatoid arthritis are currently unknown, noted The Patient Education Institute.;
Dealing with the symptoms
Pain is a trademark symptom of arthritis, which may call for arthritis health care products. These tools can better enable loved ones to tend to everyday tasks, which will heighten their sense of independence. Finding the best tools requires caregivers to have discussions with the people they care for to assess what type of tools they need and which ones best fit their lifestyle.
Categories to discuss include:
- Comfort and support aids for arthritis: These can provide much-needed relief for loved ones. From supports to temperature-based wraps, caregivers can ensure that those whom they care for are as comfortable as possible no matter where they may be.
- Arthritis mobility devices: These can increase family members' abilities to move around inside and outside the home. There are models that can be folded up and easily stored away and others that take up more space.
- Arthritis dressing aids: This everyday routine is one that loved ones can have difficulty with. Dressing aids are a simple way to allow them to get ready in the morning without having to ask for help from others, which will lead to increased independence and happiness.
Additionally, according to the NLM, there are a number of treatments available for people with arthritis, including physical therapy, low-impact exercises such as water aerobics and over-the-counter medications. More likely than not, doctors will advise lifestyle changes that encourage better joint health, such as losing weight and eating foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. There are also prescription drugs that can treat extreme pain. Taking these requires strict adherence to doctor's instructions. Lastly, there are surgical options, which can replace a part of or an entire joint.