Arthritis is a condition in which one or more joints become inflamed. This causes swelling, pain, and the inability to freely move those affected joints. The hands, elbows, knees, ankles, spine, and hips are affected most often. Although every type of arthritis causes inflammation, they are classified as either inflammatory or non-inflammatory. To help family caregivers better understand the two, the Fairfield senior care experts at Home Care Assistance explain the basic differences.
Inflammatory arthritis is commonly known as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This is the most complicated kind of arthritis because it involves the immune system attacking healthy living tissue, making it an autoimmune disease. There are several factors that categorize this kind of arthritis:
- The greater likelihood of women developing it compared to men
- The possibility for children to develop RA
- Body parts like the lungs and eyes can be affected
- Hormones and genetics can contribute to its development
- Symptoms can include tiredness and weakness
Non-inflammatory arthritis is also known as osteoarthritis (OA) and occurs when the cartilage between the joints begins to break down, sometimes at rapid speeds. Although OA is categorized as non-inflammatory, the end result is inflammation of the joints due to the grinding together of the bone ends because of the lack of healthy cartilage. The circumstances that cause and worsen OA include:
- Daily activities that put stress on the joints
- Being overweight and adding stress and pressure on the joints
- The aging process and eventual breakdown of cartilage
Doctors use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology as well as X-rays to diagnose arthritis. It’s much easier to diagnose OA than RA. This is because X-rays and MRIs can easily reveal the condition of cartilage. Since RA is an autoimmune disease, doctors typically conduct blood tests to see if antibodies associated with RA are present.
If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with arthritis and could use help with everyday tasks like grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, and personal care, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We provide trusted hourly and live-in care in Fairfield, CT, and can ensure your loved one has the necessary support to make daily living easier. Call us today at 203-955-1915 to speak with a friendly Care Manager and request a free consultation.