National Arthritis Awareness Month reminds us to raise awareness for over 58 million people living with arthritis pain. Through proper diagnosis and advanced treatment options, there is hope for those affected with this condition.
Common forms of arthritis include various autoimmune arthritic disorders, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis or Osteoarthritis. Depending on the type of arthritis you or a loved one is diagnosed with, there are state-of-the-art treatment options available today.
Osteoarthritis is often referred to as "wear-and-tear arthritis" or degenerative joint disease, while Rheumatoid Arthritis is characterized by inflammation and painful swelling in the affected areas caused by your immune system attacking healthy cells.
The first step in treating arthritis is to determine the type of arthritis. This involves a consultation with a Rheumatologist, who will take a detailed history. At the initial visit, oftentimes imaging studies and labs will be ordered, along with a physical exam.
Making an accurate diagnosis is the most critical step. From there, a customized treatment plan will be created.
In addition to diagnosing the type of arthritis you have, assessing bone health is also important. This is done with a bone density test (DXA) to assess the quality of the bone and reduce the risk of fracture in the future.
Every patient's journey with arthritis is unique. A proper diagnosis and customized treatment plan offers hope for many patients. Improving the health of those with arthritis, along with modern treatment plans, can offer relief.
These lifestyle tips and treatment options can help relieve arthritis pain:
Healthy Nutritious Diet: Limiting excessive sugar and carbohydrates is often recommended to reduce inflammation. Consuming an anti-inflammatory diet with foods like berries, apples, kale, spinach, almonds, and walnuts is recommended. Daily supplements like turmeric and omega fish oil can also help reduce inflammation in the body.
Low-Impact Exercise: Walking, cycling, yoga, and pilates are examples of low-impact exercises that can help improve balance, build bone and muscle strength, and help manage weight. Choosing an exercise program that you enjoy can help manage disease progression while optimizing health.
Weight Management: No matter the type of arthritis you have, the goal should be to have a healthy BMI. An unhealthy BMI makes it harder to manage inflammation and symptoms.
Medication: Analgesics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), or corticosteroids are often used to treat various types of arthritis. Medications should be prescribed in consultation with your Rheumatologist.
Infusions & Injections: Infusion therapy and injections are treatment options to stop the progression of autoimmune-related arthritis. These treatments use biologics to provide a better quality of life. The medications used in both infusions and injections target different disease pathways.
Although no one wants to live with arthritis, there are steps you can take to improve your well-being and health in managing this disease. The end goal for each patient is to get pain relief, delay disease progression, and limit risk of bone fractures for a better quality of life.
Illinois Bone & Joint Institute offers one-stop quality care for patients with arthritis. With diagnostic and imaging tests on site, our physicians can assess what type of arthritis you or your loved ones have. We treat each patient with an individualized, custom treatment plan for better health and quality of life.
About the Author:
Dr. Ami Kothari, MD, is a Board-Certified Rheumatologist and Rheumatology Director at Illinois Bone & Joint Institute. Among Dr. Kothari’s many specialties, she provides advanced treatments to reduce joint inflammation, control the immune system and treat bone health. Dr. Kothari aims to provide her patients with state-of-the-art therapeutic options by staying updated on Rheumatology research and clinical developments.