One of the biggest misconceptions of arthritis is that it is a problem in elderly people. This is completely untrue. Osteoarthritis is highly present in female seniors. Most sufferers on average are forty seven years old. Cases of arthritis are mostly reported between the ages of twenty to fifty years old. Children have also been diagnosed with arthritis.
Second to heart disease arthritis tops the list as a very serious disorder. The problem with it is it can grow worse over time. The disabling affects can cause a loss of mobility, anxiety and depression. The condition can cause lots of stress to family members and can become extremely costly. It is incurable but its symptoms can be alleviated by pain medication and lifestyle changes.
Treating arthritis has come a long way thanks to innovative techniques and scientific research. Just 50 years ago most patients would have been bedbound with their symptoms but now symptoms can be managed effectively with medication.
When it comes to medication for arthritis, no one size fits all. There are differing types of arthritis and so different types of medication need to be prescribed.
Medication for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Painkillers are often used to reduce the pain of rheumatoid arthritis and the most commonly prescribed are paracetamol and codeine.
Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen can be prescribed to relieve painful, swollen joints; these are traditional non-steriodal anti-inflammatories or you may wish to try coxibs such as celecoxib or etoricoxib which act as a painkiller as well as anti-inflammatory. These drugs have been found to be very effective but there are side-effects associated with them which include stomach problems.
If traditional anti-inflammatories don't work then corticosteroids may be prescribed which can either be given orally or as an injection. The corticosteroids are used only on a short-term basis because of the associated side effects but they are proven to be very effective in reducing swelling and stiffness of joints.
If the RA has been caught at an early stage then disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs can not only help to ease symptoms but also to slow down the progression of the disease. These can sometimes be taken in conjunction with biological treatments which is the latest form of treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. Biological treatments prevent certain chemicals from sending signals to your immune system which tells them to attack the lining of your joints.
Medications for Osteoarthritis
Treatment for osteoarthritis can be the same as treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, with painkillers providing some relief and anti-inflammatories helping to reduce the swelling. Some anti-inflammatories are available as a cream or ointment which can be applied directly onto the joints affected.
Capsaicin cream may be prescribed which again is applied directly to the joints and works to block the nerves which send messages to pain receptors.
Severe osteoarthritis may benefit from intra-articular injections in which medicine such as corticosteroid is injected directly into affected joints.
As with all medication, some people may find that certain medicines work best for them whilst others don't. Your GP will have full access to your medical history and is best placed to decide which course of treatment could prove effective for you.
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