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What is Arthritis?
There are two types of arthritis: Osteoarthritis & Rheumatoid Arthritis
1. Osteoarthritis: Within the joint cavity there is a membrane called cartilage. When the cartilage degenerates, pain is experienced in the joints. This is called osteo arthrosis. It usually affects the knee, shoulder and smaller joints of the hands and feet, leading to painful restriction of movements and difficulties in day to day work.
2.  Rheumatoid Arthritis: This condition is due to a chronic inflammation of the lining membrane of the joint cavaties which causes irreversible damage to the joint capsule and the cartilage. It also causes inflammatory changes in all connective tissues of the body.
What are the causes of Osteoarthritis?
a)  Obesity affects the weight bearing joints eg., knees and hips.
b)  Ageing causes a decreased ability of the cartilages to resist stress, damage and destruction.
c)  Genetics - Women are highly pre-disposed to Osteoarthritis.
d)  Mechanical aspects - Osteoarthritis is becoming increasingly  evident in active people such as football players and atheletes - repetitive mechanical stress maybe the reason.
What are the symptoms of Osteoarthritis?
Pain in and around the affected joints is the most common problem. This may cause impairment depending on the person's personality, anxiety, depression and lifestyle.
Bony enlargement, deformity, instability, restriction of movements and muscular weakness are also common. Morning stiffness is usually brief lasting between 5 - 30 mins.
What are the practical complications of Osteoarthritis?
Pain and limitation of movement can disrupt daily life. For eg., if old people are not able to shop, cook or eat food, they may suffer from malnutrition. Inability to visit the toilet may lead to passing of urine in the bed. Inability to care for oneself may result in a loss of personal hygiene. 
What is the treatment of Osteoarthritis?
The physician may request x-ray pictures and attempt to relieve the pain with medication. Muscle relaxants, local heat, massage, cervical collar, traction, ultra short wave diathermy and physiotheraphy may also be used. The most important thing to do is to prevent strain in the joints, but at the same time, perform mobility exercises as advised by the physiotherapist or specialist. In severe cases surgery may also be advised.
The major contribution to managing this condition must come from the patients themselves in the form of strong will-power. One must not be anxious or depressed as this directly determines the well-being of the individual.
Can Osteoarthritis cause giddy spells?
Sometimes when the cervical spine is involved and the blood vessels passing through the spine are compressed, there maybe giddy spells during neck movements.
What is the cause of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)?
The cause of RA remains unknown, but research shows that RH is due to body reactions to specific substances. This leads to arthritis and joint damage. Recent studies show that certain people inherit a tendency to develop RA.
How does the doctor diagnose Rheumatoid Arthritis?
The following criteria help in diagnosing Rheumatoid Arthritis: prolonged morning stiffness in the joints, characteristic nodules under the skin, joint erosions apparent on X-ray tests, and blood tests for an antibody known as rheumatoid factor.
What is the treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis?
There is no cure for RA. The treatment is to manage the symptoms. Early diagnosis and aggressive treatment are important to avoid functional impairment and irreversible joint damage. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are used.






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Osteoarthritis & Exercise

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Women, Osteo porosis and Hormone Replacement Therapy






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