Swelling, stiffness, and pain in your joints may be symptoms of a form of arthritis. More than 100 forms of the disease exist, but the most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. If you live in the area of Perth Amboy, New Jersey or Matawan, New Jersey, internal medicine specialist Dr. Vijay Patel can help men and women of any age manage the condition and improve the quality of daily function. Take advantage of his expertise by calling his office or using the online booking agent to make an appointment today.
Arthritis Q & A
What are the types of arthritis?
Although gout, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis are all forms that Dr. Patel can manage, the most common form of arthritis in the United States is osteoarthritis. This type is degenerative and develops over time as you age. Approximately 27 million Americans suffer from osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition in which your body attacks your joints and causes inflammation, pain, and swelling.
Gout, an inflammatory form of arthritis, develops in reaction to high uric acid in the blood. Fibromyalgia causes widespread pain and stiffness and likely occurs due to communication confusion between your brain and nerves.
How does osteoarthritis develop?
In osteoarthritis, the rubbery cartilage that covers the end of each bone at the joint wears down. When your cartilage wears down, you have little cushioning as the bones glide together, causing pain and swelling. It’s most common in people older than 65 but can develop at just about any age.
Joints that experienced injury and recovery are susceptible to developing arthritis years later. Osteoarthritis also seems to run in families. It may also have lifestyle and environmental causes.
How is arthritis diagnosed?
If you suffer from pain, stiffness, and swelling around your joints, consult with Dr. Patel. He reviews your medical history and performs a physical exam; he may even order X-rays and blood tests to confirm a diagnosis. Early diagnosis and management are key to reducing the pain of the disease.
How is arthritis managed?
There’s no cure for osteoarthritis, but Dr. Patel can help you understand how to manage your symptoms. Maintaining a healthy weight and keeping physically active keep arthritis symptoms at bay. Aim for at least five days per week of moderate-intensity exercise to manage pain and keep your joints moving.
Participating in physical therapy exercises that improve joint mobility and flexibility and at-home management of flare-ups are also important parts of treatment. Strengthening exercises using resistance help your muscles become more adept at supporting the joints and reducing pain.
Dr. Patel may recommend pain medications, either over-the-counter or prescription, to manage your symptoms. You may also receive oral or injections of corticosteroids, to bring down swelling.
Properly managing your arthritis helps improve your pain, increases your function and productivity, and keeps you mobile.