Recognising Medical Conditions: Part 4 – Arthritis

Roughly half of the ageing population aged 65 and over have problems with arthritis. If they complain about joint pain and stiffness in any part of the body, it could be arthritis.

Many cases are mild and people cope with it. Some forms (there are many types) cause changes you can see – swelling, warmth, and redness in joints. Sometimes the pain and swelling only last a short time but can be very bad. Chronic pain caused by arthritis can lead to depression and sleep disturbance.

Symptoms vary depending on the type that has developed and may include:

  • Lasting joint pain
  • Pain or swelling in one or more joints
  • Warmth and redness in a joint
  • Pain and stiffness after activity such as gardening or housework
  • Weakness and muscle wasting
  • Restricted joint movement

What to do

There is no cure for arthritis but there are many treatments to slow down the condition, relieve the pain, and help the person live with it. The first step is to see a GP to get a diagnosis. The doctor will then recommend – depending on the type and severity of the condition – the best approach to managing it.  There are a range of options which can include:

  • Painkillers and other medications
  • Physiotherapy
  • Regular exercise
  • Surgical procedures such as joint replacement or joint fusion in severe cases

For further information about living with arthritis and to download their managing pain booklet

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