Arthritis is an illness often associated with growing older but the truth is, it can strike at any age. It currently affects more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children in the U.S., according to the Arthritis Foundation. Technically, arthritis is not a singular disease but rather an umbrella term for more than 100 different conditions that affect the joints including the most common types – osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
A person with arthritis suffers from inflammation of the joints. The inflammation may be due to infection, an autoimmune disease, or just basic wear and tear. Without treatment, arthritis will worsen over time and may even become degenerative.
The treatment plan designed by Dr. Race will depend on a number of factors including the type arthritis, level of pain, and the patient’s overall health. In general, most care strategies include a combination of drug therapy to reduce the inflammation and lifestyle changes like weight loss. Dr. Race may refer a patient with arthritis to a physical therapist to improve range of motion and flexibility as part of the overall containment plan and suggest dietary changes that support the bones and joints.
The exact symptoms will depend on the type arthritis the patient has but, in general, there is usually pain and heat in the affected joint. The joint may appear inflamed, too, so there is visible swelling. For most people, the first sign of a chronic problem is poor flexibility. When getting out of the chair seems harder than usual or walking down the steps causes pain the knees that didn’t exist before are some examples.
Dr. Race will use the combination of symptoms along with imaging and blood tests to make a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan to stop the progression of the disease and to help manage it.
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