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About a third of people with arthritis say that arthritis pain makes it difficult for them to do the things they enjoy. A quarter of them say that the pain is severe. Arthritis isn’t a single disease. It is a group of more than 100 diseases that affect the joints. Below are 3 common kinds of arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is the most common kind of arthritis. It happens because of the “wear and tear” that joints are exposed to with use. It usually develops as a person ages, but it can be caused by injuries to joints and the stress placed on joints by obesity. The joints that are normally affected are those that bear weight, such as the knees, spine, feet, and hips. Osteoarthritis happens when the cartilage that protects the bones in joints breaks down. A senior with osteoarthritis may experience the following symptoms:
- Aching pain.
- A feeling of stiffness in the morning that usually goes away in about half an hour.
- Feeling stiff after resting for a while.
- Pain during walking.
Gout is caused by having too much uric acid in the body, which leads to uric crystals developing in the joints. The crystals cause inflammation and pain in the joints. Gout most often occurs in the joints of the big toe or in other parts of the foot. Many times, the older adult will be woken in the night by extreme pain in their foot. A gout attack may last from 3 to 10 days. Initially, the attacks are sporadic but happen more often over time. Symptoms of gout include:
- Severe joint pain.
- Pain in the joint even after the severe pain goes away.
- Redness, swelling, and tenderness in the joint.
- Stiffness in the joint.
Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is considered an autoimmune disease because the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the joints. This leads to inflammation and damage to the joints. Some people with RA develop rheumatoid nodules, which are bumps that form on the skin, usually over the knuckles, heels, and elbows. Symptoms of RA may happen suddenly and are often worse than the symptoms associated with osteoarthritis. Some of the symptoms of RA are:
- Pain, stiffness, and swelling in more than one joint.
- Symptoms occur on both sides of the body, so if the right wrist is affected, the left one will be also.
- Stiffness in the morning that can go on for hours or for the majority of the day.
Elder care can assist seniors with arthritis regardless of the form they have. Elder care providers can help with tasks that are difficult because of arthritis pain, such as dressing, cooking, and cleaning. Arthritis pain may make walking difficult and lead to falls, but an elder care provider can help your aging relative