In those over the age of sixty-five, there are a number of conditions, diseases, and actions that can cause great harm and are in fact much more common in this age group. However, of all of these disorders, arthritis is the most common condition among the elderly.
The term arthritis is not actually used to describe only one disease and instead is used to describe more than 100 different rheumatic diseases. While arthritis is often thought of as an elderly disorder and it is in fact more common among seniors, arthritis can affect people of all ages even children.
Despite there being so many kinds of arthritis, two types of arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common kind.
One of the main symptoms of Osteoarthritis is its effect on the cartilage of a persons joints. Cartilage acts as a sort of cushion or hinge in between the joints. When everything is working well, the cartilage protects the bones of the joint from rubbing together. However, in someone with osteoarthritis, the cartilage around the affected joints begins to die and go away. This, in turn, causes the bones in the joint to begin to rub directly against one another, which can be incredibly painful. It is also common for this to result in small bone fragments to break away, which can cause infection and disability.
While in the body, any joint can fall victim to the effects of osteoarthritis, it is most often found in joints such as the hip, which are weight bearing. In most cases, only one joint in a pair will be affected by this disease. For example, in someone with knee osteoarthritis, if the right knee were infected, the left knee would typically not be affected. This is referred to as an asymmetrical arthritis.
Even though osteoarthritis is found in the knee the majority of the time and weight bearing joints to a lesser degree, it can also be found in smaller joints, such as the hand.
In regards to the effects on the body, rheumatoid arthritis shares a number of similarities with osteoarthritis, but it is considered to be a symmetrical arthritis. What this means is that usually joints are affected uniformly. For instance, unlike osteoarthritis, in someone with knee rheumatoid arthritis, if one knee was infected, the other knee would almost always also be affected.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is also classified as a autoimmune disorder, which means that it causes the body's own immune system to attack itself. The immune system is used to fight infection, but in someone with rheumatoid arthritis, the body thinks that the joint is actually an infection. As a result, the cells in the body begin to attack and break down the joint, causing rheumatoid arthritis. The exact trigger of this autoimmune disorder is not known.
Arthritis can be a very serious disease and there is no cure for it. However, with attention to diet and exercise, many of the effects can often be prevented from spreading. There are also a number of medications that can address the joint pain caused by rheumatic diseases.
David is an author who is experienced with many of the diseases and conditions found among the elderly. One of the key component of treating arthritis often involves learning about how to live with arthritis, which involves identifying problem activities and discovering ways to make these activities easier. In many cases, this involves the use of devices like lift chairs, which are a type of lifting aid designed to make independent standing safer and easier.