Our Approach to Battling Your Arthritis
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with arthritis, it is important to learn more about the disease and its potential health impact. However, pinning down the facts about arthritis can be difficult. Despite striking more than 50 million Americans, arthritis is an often misunderstood disease with a core of common myths surrounding it.
A resource in your fight against arthritis is the health care team and related programs of the ProMedica Orthopaedic Institute; specifically, our Arthritis and Osteoporosis Center. It specializes in the latest diagnostic services and treatment for osteoporosis, fibromyalgia and all forms of arthritis. The center’s experienced staff includes rheumatologists, occupational therapists and physical therapists.
Center staff individualize each treatment to the patient. We feel strongly about educating patients, so we take time to explain procedures and provide educational information. We welcome questions you may have about arthritis, osteoporosis, risk factors that can be changed as well as prevention plans. For more information, call 419-291-8900 or refer to the following contact information:
Arthritis and Osteoporosis Center
ProMedica Total Rehab
6855 Spring Valley Dr., Suite 155
Holland, Ohio 43528
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis involves the breakdown of cartilage. Cartilage normally protects the joint, allowing for smooth movement. Cartilage also absorbs shock when pressure is placed on the joint, like when you walk. Without the usual amount of cartilage, the bones rub together, causing pain, swelling (inflammation) and stiffness. You may have joint inflammation for a variety of reasons, including:
- An autoimmune disease (the body attacks itself because the immune system believes a body part is foreign)
- Broken bone
- General “wear and tear” on joints
- Infection (usually caused by bacteria or viruses)
Other Types of Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term disease that leads to inflammation of the joints and surrounding tissues. It also can affect other organs. Its cause is unknown but is considered an autoimmune disease. The body’s immune system normally fights off foreign substances, like viruses. But in an autoimmune disease, the immune system confuses healthy tissue for foreign substances. As a result, the body attacks itself. Rheumatoid arthritis can occur at any age. Women are affected more often than men.
It usually affects joints on both sides of the body equally. Wrists, fingers, knees, feet and ankles are the most commonly affected. The course and the severity of the illness can vary considerably. Infection, genes and hormones may contribute to the disease.
Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disorder. Osteoarthritis is caused by “wear and tear” on a joint. Cartilage is the firm, rubbery tissue that cushions your bones at the joints, and allows bones to glide over one another. Cartilage can break down and wear away. As a result, the bones rub together, causing pain, swelling and stiffness. Bony spurs or extra bone may form around the joint, and the ligaments and muscles around the hip become weaker and stiffer.
Often, the cause of osteoarthritis is unknown. It is mainly related to aging. The symptoms usually appear in middle age. Almost everyone has some symptoms by age 70. However, these symptoms may be minor. Before age 55, osteoarthritis occurs equally in men and women. After age 55, it is more common in women.