Health Guide for Arthritis Awareness

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Arthritis is a joint disease that causes pain and inflammation in the joints, making movement and staying active difficult. There are around 100 types of arthritis that occur due to different reasons and have corresponding treatment methods. Symptoms for this disease may vary from mild to chronic and could be temporary or permanent. 

With arthritis, it gets difficult to even perform daily activities like walking or climbing stairs. The disease can also result in permanent changes in the joints, with these changes being visible in the form of irregular finger joints. Arthritis is one of the most common diseases and causes of disability. In the UAE alone, one in five people suffers from the disease. 

Let’s now check out some key aspects of the disease and how it is treated by going through this article.

Different Types of Arthritis

Different types of arthritis can affect one’s eyes, heart, lungs, skin, or kidneys along with the joints. The most common types are discussed below –

  • Osteoarthritis (OA) – This type of arthritis can affect the elbows, wrists, spine, hips, and knees. Here, the bones in the affected joints become weak, the connective tissue degenerates, and the inflammation damages the joint lining. The risk of getting this arthritis is generally high in people with a family history of the same. 
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) – It is an autoimmune disorder and occurs when the immune system attacks the tissues of the body. It causes inflammation in the joints and other organs. In the joints, the disease deteriorates the synovium, a soft tissue that produces a fluid to nourish cartilage and lubricates the joints. Consequently, the respective bone and cartilage also get damaged. 
  • Infectious Arthritis – This type of arthritis gets triggered by a fungal, bacterial, or viral infection. The disease onsets with an infection travelling from another part of the body to the joint usually the knees. The common symptoms of this disease are swelling, fever, and pain in the joints. However, with prescribed antibiotics and antifungal medication, the infection can be cleared quickly. 
  • Gout (Metabolic Arthritis) – Gout occurs due to a build-up of uric acid crystals in the joints. When the body is unable to get excessive uric acid, the latter gets collected in the joints and causes sudden and intense pain, usually in the big toe.
  • Juvenile Arthritis – Also known as Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis and childhood arthritis, this type of arthritis occurs due to immune system problems and can permanently affect the joints. While there is no particular treatment for it, remission is an option when the disease is inactive.

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Symptoms of Arthritis

The symptoms of arthritis can vary and appear at different stages. Most of the symptoms develop gradually and could come and go or persist over time. 

Keep in mind the following major symptoms of arthritis –

  • Pain – There is generally constant pain in the body of arthritis patients. However, in some cases, the pain might just come and go. This pain can be prevalent in one part or several body parts.
  • Stiffness – It is one of the most common symptoms of the disease. The patient can feel stiffness as soon as they wake up in the morning or while sitting at a desk for a long time. In some cases, stiffness can occur even after exercise. 
  • Swelling – In some cases, the skin over the affected joint gets red, swollen, and feels warm upon touch. 
  • Difficulty in Movement – Another common symptom of arthritis is difficulty in moving joints or getting up from a chair.

What Causes Arthritis?

There is no one specific cause of arthritis, with the causes differing as per the type of arthritis. The causes of the disease could be – 

  • An injury that led to degenerative arthritis
  • Abnormal metabolism that could cause gouty arthritis
  • A genetic condition that could lead to osteoarthritis
  • An infection like Lyme disease can trigger the symptoms
  • Immune system dysfunction that can result in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) 

Most arthritis types are associated with a combination of causes. Moreover, some types of arthritis have no obvious cause or have ones that are unpredictable until their emergence.

How is Arthritis Diagnosed?

Patients showing the symptoms of arthritis should visit a healthcare provider, who can perform a physical examination that may include – 

  • Evaluating mobility and the joints’ range of movement
  • Examining the areas of tenderness or swelling around the joints
  • Testing the comprehensive health to estimate if another condition is causing these symptoms 

Imaging Exams for Arthritis Diagnosis

Imaging tests can help the doctor gain clarity about the condition of the bones, soft tissues, and joints. Imaging tests like X-rays, ultrasound, or MRI help in determining the following –

  • Fractures or bone dislocation that may cause joint pain
  • Breakdown of cartilage around the joints
  • Injuries over muscles, ligaments, and tendons near the joints
  • Soft tissue inflammation

Blood Test for Diagnosing Arthritis

In case the doctors suspect the patient has gout or RA, they may prescribe a blood test that helps them examine the level of uric acid or inflammatory proteins.

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Treatment for Arthritis 

The major objective of treatment options is to reduce the intensity of pain faced by the patients and prevent further damage to the joints. The treatments for arthritis, in general, include the following – 

  • Medications – Several anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving medicines can help in reducing the symptoms of arthritic pain. Medicines like biologics focus on the patient’s immune system response – doctors generally prescribe them for RA and psoriatic arthritis.
  • Physical Therapy – Physical therapy helps in improving strength and overall mobility. Here, therapists guide patients in how they can adjust their daily activities to reduce arthritic pain.  
  • Therapeutic Vaccinations – Prescribed shots of Cortisone can help in attaining temporary relief from arthritic pain and inflammatory joints. There are alternatives like viscosupplementation, where lubricants are injected into the knees for ease of movement. 
  • Surgery – Doctors prescribe surgery only in critical cases of arthritis. This is usually applicable to patients whose condition did not improve with traditional treatments. The options are – 
  • Fusion – Here, two or more bones are fused permanently. This surgery makes the joint immobile and reduces the pain caused due to movement.
  • Joint Replacement – With this surgery, the patient can get the arthritic joint replaced with an artificial one to get back the joint functioning and moving. Some common joint replacement surgeries are knee replacement, hip replacement, shoulder replacement, and ankle replacement surgeries.

Note: The mentioned details are for reference purposes only. Always consult your doctor if you face any problem or before starting any treatment. 

Buy Health Insurance Plan to Cover the Arthritis Treatment Costs

Arthritis is generally considered to be a pre-existing condition and can be covered under health insurance only after a waiting period. Moreover, the insured individual would be required to disclose the condition while submitting the health insurance application – failing to mention a pre-existing condition can lead to claim rejection in the future. 

You can buy health insurance plans in the UAE from policybazaar.ae. We are a third-party aggregator offering insurance plans from the best providers in the country. The following are a few benefits of purchasing a health insurance plan on Policybazaar UAE – 

  • Insurance plans with exclusive discounted premium rates 
  • 24-by-7 customer support
  • Free consultation from the insurance experts in case you are stuck while choosing the right plan for you
  • Facility to compare insurance plans from the leading insurance providers in the UAE

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Arthritis is a joint disease that causes pain and inflammation in the joints, making movement and staying active difficult. There are about 100 types of arthritis that occur because of different reasons and have different treatment methods. 
  • With arthritis, it can get difficult to do daily activities like walking or climbing stairs. The disease can also result in permanent changes in the joints, with the changes often being visible in the form of irregular finger joints. 
  • Arthritis is one of the most common diseases and causes of disability. In the UAE alone, one in five people suffers from the disease. 
  • There are different types of arthritis like osteoarthritis, juvenile arthritis, gout, infectious arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. 
  • The main symptoms of arthritis are pain, stiffness, warmth in the affected joint, redness, difficulty in mobility, swelling, and fever. 
  • There is no one specific cause of arthritis, as they can differ depending on the type of arthritis. Some of the most frequently observed causes are injury, infection, genetic conditions, immune system disorders, and so on. 
  • Arthritis can be diagnosed either by imaging tests, physical examination, or blood tests.
  • Arthritis is generally considered to be a pre-existing condition and can be covered under health insurance only after a waiting period. 

Visit policybazaar.ae to get the best health insurance in UAE in the easiest way possible.

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