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How to Address Osteoarthritis and Arthritis through Rheumatology

Rheumatology is a branch of medicine that focuses on the study, diagnosis, and treatment of rheumatic diseases, a group of conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system, connective tissues, and internal organs.

Among these diseases, osteoarthritis and arthritis are two of the most common and debilitating conditions. Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, involves the deterioration of joint cartilage. It is particularly common in older adults but can also occur in younger individuals due to trauma or genetic predispositions. Suffering from osteoarthritis means experiencing joint pain, stiffness, swelling, and limited mobility. Its causes include the wear and tear of cartilage, accelerated by factors such as aging, joint injuries, joint overload, obesity, and genetic predisposition.

Origin of Arthritis and Affected Organs

Arthritis is a general term that indicates inflammation of the joints. There are various forms of arthritis, the most common being rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that primarily affects the joints but can also impact other organs.

The causes of arthritis are numerous and vary depending on the type. For instance, in rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system mistakenly attacks joint tissues, causing inflammation. Other forms of arthritis can be caused by infections, crystals (such as in gout), or other autoimmune diseases.

Unlike osteoarthritis, the symptoms of arthritis tend to improve with physical activity and worsen with rest. These symptoms include pain, swelling, joint stiffness, and a sensation of warmth in the affected joints.

What is the Most Effective Therapeutic Approach?

The treatment of osteoarthritis and arthritis in rheumatology focuses on a combination of pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches:

  • Medications: Analgesics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly used to relieve pain and reduce or control inflammation. In some cases, corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid injections may be prescribed. For arthritis, biological drugs (an advanced class of DMARDs) target specific components of the immune system.
  • Physical Therapy: Muscle-strengthening and stretching exercises help maintain joint function, reduce symptoms, and prevent joint deformities.
  • Lifestyle Modifications: Weight loss and a balanced diet can reduce joint load and improve quality of life. In severe cases of arthritis, surgical interventions may be necessary to repair or replace damaged joints.
  • Complementary Therapies and Psychological Support: Techniques such as acupuncture, heat and cold therapy can provide symptomatic relief. Additionally, arthritis can significantly impact quality of life, so psychological support and counseling can be helpful in managing the emotional challenges associated with the disease.

The rheumatology department at MiniHospital Sandro Pertini offers the best medical equipment and the support of esteemed professionals for treating musculoskeletal issues, autoimmune diseases, and systemic inflammatory conditions. Request an appointment for a thorough examination.

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