CPhT CONNECT™ Magazine - Jan/Feb 2021


Arthritis is a chronic condition that can have a significant impact on a person’s daily life. Arthritis is an inflammation of joints that causes pain and stiffness and tends to worsen with age. It is an incurable condition that can affect people of all ages, sexes, and races. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in America. Additionally, it most commonly occurs in women as they get older, but others at an increased risk for arthritis include men 45 years old and older, young girls age 15 and older, African Americans, and those who have a family history of arthritis. The effects of arthritis and its progression can vary from person to person but range from mild to severe, debilitating the sufferer. Although the medical community has identified several types of arthritis, this article focuses on three of the major forms: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and juvenile arthritis. We will explore the stages and disease progression, symp- toms and causes, and both medical and non-medical treatment options, as well as the effects of certain pain relievers on the body.

Osteoarthritis Osteoarthritis is the most diagnosed form of joint disease. It most commonly affects the hands, knees, and hips. As this disease progresses, it can lead to permanent disability. Like most other types of arthritis, it can be triggered by bone spurs, repetitive motion, changes in weather, and weight

or after sitting for an extended period. The recommended treat- ment plan is to stop the progression of the disease. At this stage, non-pharmacologic treatments are still recommended depend- ing on the severity of the pain and may include a strict exercise regimen, strength training, braces or supports, and shoe inserts.

gain. Furthermore, the stages (ranked from stage 0 to stage 4) can progress at different rates from person to person. The signs and symptoms of each stage and the recommended treatment options for each stage are listed below. Stage 0: In stage 0, a person exhib- its no signs of osteoarthritis and lacks impairment or joint damage. Since no signs, symptoms, or damage to the joints is present, no treatment options are necessary. Stage 1: In stage 1, a person expe- riences minor wear and tear on the joints and may have a few bone spur growths. During this stage, an individual is unlikely to experi- ence much pain and discomfort. There is no recommendation for any special treatment options, but a physician is likely to recommend regular exercise. A physician may also recommend taking supplements such as glucosamine and chondroi- tin. Glucosamine occurs naturally in the body and produces a molecule that is used in the formation and repair of cartilage and other tissues

Stage 3: A person begins to expe- rience moderate symptoms at this stage when obvious erosion to the cartilage surface occurs. Proteoglycan, core protein, and col- lagen fragments are released into the synovial fluid as the disease state progresses. Joint inflammation causes frequent pain when walk- ing, running, squatting, or kneeling. Additionally, the patient may hear a popping sound when walking. The treatment plan may include a rec- ommendation for over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), or pain relief medi- cations may be prescribed. If these therapies are not effective, an ortho- pedic doctor may prescribe stronger pain medications such as codeine and oxycodone. Patients who have not positively responded to phys - ical therapy, weight loss, and the use of NSAID pain relievers may require intra-articular injections. Stage 4: Stage 4 is considered a severe stage. The space between the bones is considerably reduced, causing the cartilage to wear off

and leaving the joints stiff. The breakdown leads to a chronic inflammatory response that decreases synovial fluid and causes friction, which leads to greater pain and discomfort. The treatment recommendation is bone realignment surgery or arthroplasty, a total knee replacement. Damaged joints can be removed or replaced with plastic or metal prosthesis devices.

in the body. Chondroitin, a dietary supplement, is a vital part of cartilage and prevents its breakdown and stimulates repair. Stage 2: During stage 2, a person has mild symptoms of osteo- arthritis; X-ray imaging shows significant bone spur growth. The spaces between bones appear to be normal, but the patient experiences symptoms of joint pain and stiffness after a workout

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