What is arthritis? Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

What is arthritis

Arthritis is inflammation of the joints. Arthritis can affect the main joints of our body. There are different causes and treatment methods for different types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are common types of arthritis.

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Symptoms of arthritis usually develop slowly, but they can also appear suddenly. Arthritis is most commonly seen in adults over 65 years of age, but it can also develop in children, adolescents, and younger adults. It is more common in women and overweight people than men.

What are the symptoms of arthritis?

As per Dr. Sharma swelling, Joint pain, and stiffness are the most common symptoms of arthritis. Your span of motion may also decrease, and you may experience redness and inflammation of the skin around the joint. Many people with arthritis notice that their symptoms worsen in the morning.

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In the case of RA, you may feel fatigued or experience loss of appetite due to inflammation due to immune system activity. Due to that, there is a chance of anemic – meaning your red blood cell count decreases – or you have a mild fever. Acute or Chronic RA and osteoarthritis can cause joint distortion if left untreated.

What Causes Arthritis?

Cartilage is the flexible connective tissue in your joints. When you walk, you protect the joints by absorbing pressure and shock and stress on them. A decrease in the normal amount of this cartilage tissue causes some forms of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Our daily normal wear and tear causes osteoarthritis, one of the most common forms of arthritis. Infection or injury to the joints can increase this natural breakdown of cartilage tissue. The risk of developing osteoarthritis may be higher if you have a family history of the disease.

Another common cause of rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. This is when your body’s immune system attacks body tissues. Dr. Sharma says that rheumatoid arthritis attacks affect the soft tissue layer in your joints, which produces a fluid that nourishes cartilage and lubricates the joints.

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Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease of the tissue layer that will invade and destroy a joint. This can eventually lead to the destruction of both bone and cartilage inside the joint.

The exact cause of immune system attacks is unknown. But scientists have evaluated genetic markers that increase your risk of developing RA five times.

How is arthritis diagnosed?

Seeing your primary care physician is a good first step if you are unsure who wants to see for an arthritis diagnosis. They will perform a physical examination to check for fluid around the joints, hot or red joints, and limited range of motion in the joints.

If you are experiencing severe symptoms, you may visit your doctor who takes some tests and this can lead to rapid diagnosis and treatment.

As per Dr. Sharma analyzing the level of inflammation in your blood and joint fluids can help your doctor determine what type of arthritis you have. Blood tests that examine specific types of antibodies such as anti-CCP (anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide), RF (rheumatoid factor), and ANA (antinuclear antibodies) are also common diagnostic tests.

Doctors typically use imaging scans such as X-rays, MRIs and CT scans to create an image of your bones and cartilage. This is so that they can rule out other causes of your symptoms, such as bone spurs.

How is arthritis treated?

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The main objective of treatment is to reduce the amount of pain and to avoid additional damage to the joints. You will learn what is best for you in terms of controlling pain. As some people find heating pads and ice packs to be soothing. Others use mobility aid devices such as canes or walkers to help take pressure in sore throat joints.

It is also important to improve your joint pain and joint work. Your doctor may prescribe a combination of treatment methods to get you the best results.


Different types of medicines treat arthritis:

Analgesics for pain relievers, such as hydrocodone (Vicodin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol), are effective but do not help reduce inflammation.

Your doctor can prescribe Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil) and salicylates, to help control pain and inflammation.

Menthol or capsaicin creams prevent the transmission of pain signals from your joints.

If you have RA, your doctor may put you on corticosteroids or disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARD), which suppress your immune system. There are also many medications for the treatment of Osteoarthritis available over the counter or by prescription.


Surgery may be an option to replace your joint with the prosthetic. This form of surgery is most commonly performed to replace the hips and knees.

If your arthritis is most severe in your fingers or wrists, your doctor may perform a joint contusion. In this process, the ends of your bones close together until they heal and become one.

Physical treatment

Physical therapy includes exercises that help strengthen the muscles around the affected joints which is a key component of arthritis treatment.

How can lifestyle changes help people with arthritis?
  • Losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight reduces the risk of developing Osteoarthritis and can reduce symptoms if you already have them.
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  • Eating a healthy diet is important to lose weight. Choosing a diet with lots of proteins, iron, antioxidants, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs, can help reduce inflammation.
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  • If you have arthritis, the food to be minimized or avoided includes fried foods, processed foods, dairy products, and a high intake of meat.

Some research also suggests that gluten antibodies may be present in people with rheumatoid arthritis. A gluten-free diet can improve symptoms and disease progression. A study also recommended a gluten-free diet for all those who receive a diagnosis of reluctant connective tissue disease.