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April 15, 2014

Arthritis: A disease with many faces

The word 'arthritis' is a generic term that refers to more than one hundred different conditions, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout. Their common feature is pain that affects the joints, tendons, ligaments or bones. Although arthritis generally affects seniors, it does not spare any age group.

Types of arthritis

There are many types of arthritis. Here are the most common.

Osteoarthritis

This is the most prevalent form of arthritis. It is caused by the wear and tear of the cartilage in the joints, and generally affects the knees and hips. Osteoarthritis is usually associated with excess body weight or the repetitive, prolonged use of a joint. It mainly affects seniors.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

This chronic inflammatory disease first strikes the hands, wrists and feet. RA can appear at the beginning of adulthood and is thought to be an autoimmune disease. In other words, the body’s immune system uses its own antibodies to attack the joints. The exact causes of RA have yet to be discovered, but genetic or biological predisposition, eating habits and smoking may be involved.

Gout

Mainly affecting men, gout is caused by an accumulation of uric acid in the body. This surplus, which is normally flushed from the body by the kidneys through urine, forms into crystals that deposit in various joints. Gout can be the result of heredity, excessive alcohol consumption and obesity.

Symptoms

Each type of arthritis has its own symptoms and progression. In addition, these vary considerably from one person to the next. Yet, it is possible to list the symptoms that are common to all types of arthritis. These include:

  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Pain
  • Redness of one or more joints.

Moreover, stiffness and pain are generally more pronounced in the morning or only on certain days.

Treatment

Although research is progressing, there is unfortunately no definite cure for arthritis at this time and options for treatment vary according to the type of arthritis you have (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.).You should consult your doctor or pharmacist to learn more about the treatment option that would suit you best.

Tips for better living

Here is a list of non-pharmacological measures that can be used before or with medications to ease arthritis symptoms :

  • Rest, relaxation and sleep
  • Exercise
  • Thermotherapy and cryotherapy (applying heat and cold to painful joints)
  • Massage therapy
  • Maintenance of a healthy weight. To discover your healthy weight, use our BMI calculator.

Medications to alleviate arthritis

Some drug therapies are used to alleviate inflammation-related symptoms, such as swelling and pain; others slow down the progression of the disease by addressing the root of the inflammatory processes.

Finding out that you have a chronic disease is bound to have an impact on your day-to-day life and state of mind. Yet, only when patients accept their conditions and begin to assess the resources available to them can they become active participants in their own care and improve their quality of life.

In-store health services

There are many professional services available in our pharmacies to help you with your arthritis symptoms:

Services in pharmacy are the sole responsibility of pharmacist-owners. Only pharmacists are responsible for pharmacy practice. They only provide related services acting under a pharmacist-owner's name.

The uniprix.com Website deals with health-related topics. The information presented has been validated by experts and is accurate at the time of posting. In no way does it replace the opinion of a health care professional. Uniprix Inc. and its affiliated pharmacists accept no liability whatsoever in connection with the information provided on this Website.