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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Arthritis

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The symptom of pain, swelling, or stiffness with limitation of joint movement is called arthritis. In certain serious types of arthritis (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis) the stiffness and limitation of joint movement is especially worse for prolonged periods in the mornings. Occasionally, the symptoms may be acute with red, hot swollen joints. In chronic cases the joints may become deformed.

 

The term arthritis, therefore, is non-specific. By itself it does not refer to any specific disease. It simply denotes the symptom of some joint disease.

Types

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Septic arthritis
  • Gout and pseudogout
  • Juvenile idiopathic arthritis
  • Still's disease
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Secondary to other diseases
  • Lupus erythematosus
  • Henoch-Schönlein purpura
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Reactive arthritis
  • Haemochromatosis
  • Hepatitis

Severity of the disease

Unfortunately, approximately 30% of diseases of the joints have the potential of becoming serious life threatening systemic problems.

This is especially so if the patient is a young woman with symptoms persisting for more than 6 weeks.

Treatment

The common goal of treatment is to keep the joints moving properly by relieving the pain and stiffness and by reducing swelling.


In general, simple pain relievers like Paracetamol, Tramadol, and more ‘strong’ drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs e.g. aspirin, ibuprofen, Indomethacin, Diclofenac, Naproxen, Aceclofenac, Piroxicam, Meloxicam, and the newer drugs like Celecoxib, Etoricoxib) are often used for short periods, especially in acute cases, early stages and in minor forms of arthritis.

Prevention

The progression of osteoarthritis can be arrested with appropriate quadriceps exercises, weight reduction and preventing posture and movement that worsen the disease.

Avoiding unprotected sex prevents gonorrhoea-related arthritis and most cases of so-called ‘reactive arthritis’.

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