Arthritis: Treatment for Women
Have you been experiencing joint pain? Are you avoiding using your hands or feet?
Arthritis is a form of joint disorder that involves inflammation of one or more joints. There are many different forms of arthritis and the most common form, osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease), is a result of trauma to the joint, infection of the joint, or age. Other arthritis forms are rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and related autoimmune diseases. Septic arthritis is caused by joint infection.
The major complaint by individuals who have arthritis is joint pain.
Pain is often a constant and may be localized to the joint affected. The pain from arthritis is due to inflammation that occurs around the joint, damage to the joint from disease, daily wear and tear of joint, muscle strains caused by forceful movements against stiff painful joints and fatigue.
Regardless of the type of arthritis, the common symptoms for all arthritis disorders include varied levels of pain, swelling, joint stiffness and sometimes a constant ache around the joint(s). Arthritic disorders like lupus and rheumatoid can also affect other organs in the body with a variety of symptoms.
- Inability to use the hand or walk
- Malaise and a feeling of tiredness
- Weight loss
- Poor sleep
- Muscle aches and pains
- Difficulty moving the joint
Arthritis in Women
RA is not only more common among women, it also may take a tougher toll on their bodies and psyches, according to a study published in Arthritis Research & Therapy. According to these findings, women had more severe RA symptoms and were less likely to be in remission than their male counterparts, despite similar treatments.
“Women experience musculoskeletal diseases worse than men because they are physically smaller and have smaller muscles,”
says study author Tuulikki Sokka, MD, PhD, of Jyvasyla Central Hospital in Finland.
The fact that women can become pregnant is likely the reason that they are disproportionately affected by autoimmune diseases like RA and lupus, explains David Pisetsky, MD, chief of rheumatology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.
“Women’s immune systems are built differently than men’s,” he says. “Women can get pregnant, which means that in essence, there is a foreign person in the mother and they don’t respond [by launching an attack against it], so the same mechanism that allows pregnancy may also allow autoimmune disease.”
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