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Arthritis: A Crippling Malady
|by Dr. Frank S. K. Barar|
Arthritis is a disease of joints, characterised by pain, swelling (inflammation), and stiffness. It is probably the most common of all disabling diseases. Strictly speaking, arthritis literally means (arthro) joint, and (itis) inflammation. Rheumatism on the other hand is a general term for pain and stiffness in the muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons and bones, i.e., structures around the joints. Arthritis and rheumatism are terms used interchangeably by the layman for any abnormal condition of the joints or related structures.
Arthritis is not a single disorder, but over a hundred types of arthritis are known. They are classified according to their specific signs, symptoms, and possible causes. The common types are Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Gout, Infective arthritis, Ankylosing spondylitis, and soft tissue rheumatism like bursitis, and tendinitis resulting from injuries leading to swelling, pain, muscle spasm, and stiffness.
Types of Arthritis
Following are the six common types of arthritis:
Arthritis at best is not completely curable. Some types are certainly controllable depending on the cause. There a specific treatments for some types of arthritis - antibiotics for infective arthritis; non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis; colchicine and allopurinol for gout. Other agents employed to offer relief and control the arthritic process include gold compounds, chelating agents, corticosteroids, chloroquine, and immunosuppressive agents.
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