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Understanding Arthritis

Blog January 3rd, 2016
assisted living seattle

Arthritis in seniors causes struggles both mentally and physically for those who suffer from its onset. Arthritis arises in a variety of forms, causing pain and inflammation in the joints that affects the mobility of the body. There are several types of arthritis and each one presents varying symptoms and treatments of such.

Understanding the effects of arthritis in seniors is important in finding the right care for the disease. A large portion of seniors over the age of 65 suffer from some form of arthritis, from osteoarthritis to gout. Any form of this debilitating disease affects the mobility of sufferers and can cause severe pain in the joints, making daily functions a struggle.

Types of Arthritis

The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. There are common treatments for each form of the disease, but fully understanding the symptoms and causes of each is important in efficiently caring for the disease.

  • Osteoarthritis – The most common form of arthritis in seniors, osteoarthritis affects both large and small joints of the body, such as the hands, feet, knees, back, and hip. Generally the onset of this form is caused by daily wear of the joints. Osteoarthritis starts in the cartilage and eventually affects the bone, causing opposing bones to erode. Though symptoms may first arise during physical activity, the pain can linger and remain when the body is at rest.
  • Rheumatoid – Also resulting in the erosion of opposing bones, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) starts in the cartilage and lining of joints. Unlike osteoarthritis, RA occurs when one’s immune system begins to attack the body’s tissues. Mainly affecting the joints, RA leads to inflammation that can cause joint damage. Aside from anti-inflammatory and pain medications, people who suffer from RA may be given disease modifying antirheumatic drugs, or DMARDs. DMARDs work to decrease the damage your body does to the joints.
  • Gout – Caused by the buildup of uric acid crystals in the joint, gout causes inflammation leading to sudden attacks of burning pain, swelling, and joint stiffness. Gout can become very debilitating, as the joints start to lose function. Chances of acquiring gout are increased with obesity and alcohol consumption as well as eating food with a high amount of purines.  There are a number of medicines that can soothe less severe cases of gout by reducing swelling.

Managing Arthritis

While there are many treatments for arthritis, severe cases can reduce mobility in the body and cause sever pain. In early stages, the pain and swelling of joints may be alleviated through the use of medications as well as exercise. Yoga, strengthening exercises, and aerobics relieve stiffness and promote a healthy, functioning body.

Often times, seniors suffering from more severe forms of arthritis may require assistance in getting around, as the overall mobility and functioning of their bodies can be hindered by the disease. In these cases, caregivers and senior communities offer means of transportation and support for those who suffer from immobility. Concierge Care Advisors can help you find the right help for you or your loved ones who are in need of assistance in Seattle. Contact us today for free help with all of your senior care needs.

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