Understanding Arthritis: Types, Symptoms, and Management Strategies

Arthritis is a joint disease affecting millions of people worldwide. There are many types of arthritis, and my job as a rheumatologist is to find out what kind of arthritis patients have, provide education, and, most importantly, apply the optimal treatment to restore function and help patients reclaim their activity.

Types of Arthritis

There are more than 100 different types of arthritis. To simplify, I divide them into the three most common categories:
  • Osteoarthritis – caused by wear and tear, obesity, or injury.
  • Inflammatory arthritis, including rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis- an autoimmune disorder that happens when the immune system malfunctions and starts to attack its own joints. Inflammatory arthritis can cause irreversible damage if untreated.
  • Crystal-induced arthritis, including gout or pseudogout- caused by crystals building up in the joints due to diet, alcohol, or genetic predisposition. Gout can cause permanent joint damage if left untreated.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Most patients with arthritis will have joint pain, but also may have joint swelling, redness, warmth, and stiffnessarthritis in the morning.
In order to diagnose the specific type of arthritis, your doctor may perform specialized blood tests. Sometimes it is not easy to identify what kind of arthritis patients have, and patients may need to see an arthritis specialist such as a rheumatologist.

Management strategies

Management depends on the type of arthritis. However, there are several common principles of treatment:
  • Regular exercise and diet, including dietary supplements such as turmeric and glucosamine. It is very important to maintain a healthy weight, especially if you have osteoarthritis, since it may help to slow down the disease’s progression.
  • Acupuncture, which I offer in our clinic, could benefit certain types of arthritis.
  • Prescription medications are necessary in cases of gout and inflammatory arthritis in order to stop disease progression and prevent permanent joint damage. Over-the-counter pain medications can help manage symptoms.

Empowering Arthritis Patients

I believe that education plays a pivotal role in empowering my patients to navigate their arthritis journey. We work together to understand triggers, monitor symptoms to ensure treatment effectiveness, and make necessary adjustments to the treatment protocol to optimize function. Arthritis demands personalized care and holistic approach. With proper care, patients can lead fulfilling lives despite the challenges posed by arthritis.

Kirillova,-Lyudmila.jpg Dr. Lyudmila Kirillova is now accepting new patients at Nashua Rheumatology.

Posted: 5/15/2024 by By Dr. Lyudmila Kirillova of Nashua Rheumatology