Senior Arthritis Effects and Treatments

Published by Steve Hedberg on December 2, 2011 Under arthritis

As a senior, there are some diseases that can make it significantly more difficult to get around. When most folks think of an elderly disease, the first one they think of is arthritis. While arthritis is not a disease that only affects seniors, with even quite young children developing the disease, it is most common among senior citizens.

Arthritis refers to a host of rheumatic disorders, which typically affect joints and the surrounding area. Contrary to popular belief, arthritis is not a single disease, but rather a classification of over a hundred similar disorders. Seniors can develop virtually any type of arthritis, although osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are by far the most common types of senior arthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is actually quite a bit different from the most common type of senior arthritis, osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis causes the bodies own defense system to begin attacking cartilage and the area around a joint, which is why it is labeled as an autoimmune disorder. Usually, the joints will begin to swell and then in response, the body creates a type of enzyme. The enzyme is intended to help with the swelling, but ends up eating away at the area around the joint. In most cases, this ends up being a symmetric attack on the joints, so for instance, both of a persons knees would usually be affected by the disorder.

Osteoarthritis is much more common and is sometimes called wear and tear arthritis, because it results over time and as a result of the use of the joints. Certain professions, like farmers or soccer players, are at an increased risk for this type of arthritis, which is often slow to develop. While it is most common for rheumatoid arthritis to affect both joints at once, osteoarthritis will usually only affect one side of the body, so for example, only one knee would be affected.

The actual effects of arthritis can not be reversed and there is no known cure for arthritis. In most cases, treatment will focus on relieving arthritis pain and keeping the disease from getting worse. There are, sadly, a number of companies that will try to profit off of this disease, selling scam treatments like magnets or copper bracelets, as well as people who push un-safe practices like seeing chiropractors. Ultimately though, safe diet, taking anti-inflammation medicines(NSAIDS,) and preforming regular safe exercise can be much more effective than any of the fraud treatments disreputable companies will push.

Arthritis alone can have a major impact on mobility, making many tasks, such as grabbing small objects, walking up the stairs, or preforming other common daily activities much more difficult. It can be a very debilitating disease.

However, for the elderly, arthritis often works with other diseases to not only decrease mobility, but also increase the risk of injury.

As an example, osteoporosis, which is a loss of bone density common among the elderly, can make it much easier for a bone to break, while arthritis can increase the risk that a senior will have a fall. This can result in even a simple arthritis related fall causing a bone fracture.

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