Around 54 million US adults have arthritis, with a significantly higher number of women affected than men. The pain associated with arthritis is hard to deal with at work and when spending time with loved ones as it can severely limit your movement. Kanagaratnam Sivalingam, MD, and his expert team at First Valley Medical Group in Lancaster, California, can help you make lifestyle changes to manage your arthritis symptoms. If you need help dealing with your arthritis, call the office or use the online scheduling tool to make your appointment today.
Arthritis refers to a group of diseases that affect your joints and cause inflammation and swelling. It can result in a loss of movement and limits your ability to do daily physical tasks and live a normal life.
Arthritis can be managed, but if you don’t treat it, it becomes a chronic condition. You’ll experience more frequent attacks as the disease gets worse over time and begins to cause other health issues.
The different types of arthritis are:
Degenerative forms of arthritis like osteoarthritis wear away the cushioning surfaces that protect your joints after years of use and your unprotected bones begin to rub against each other.
Over time, this friction causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in the affected joint and, if left untreated, your joint becomes weaker and the pain becomes chronic.
Inflammatory forms of arthritis like rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis are conditions in which your immune system attacks healthy joints, causing severe inflammation. Over time, this can erode joints and even damage major organs like your kidneys, eyes, and other parts of your body.
Infectious forms of arthritis are caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi that enter the joint and trigger an infection that causes it to become inflamed. These types of arthritis can be easily treated with antibiotics, but if you miss the symptoms, arthritis can become a chronic condition.
Metabolic arthritis is another name for gouty arthritis, which affects the body when there’s a buildup of too much uric acid in your blood.
The uric acid crystallizes in your joints causing sudden, extreme pain. Gout attacks happen periodically at first, but if left untreated, the attacks become more frequent and more intense.
The different types of arthritis have their unique issues, but a common symptom of most arthritic conditions is joint pain that includes swelling and reduced mobility.
Arthritis begins with pain and stiffness but permanently damages your joints over time. If your condition is severe, it can affect your heart, lungs, eyes, kidneys, and skin.
Dr. Sivalingam does a physical exam and might also use blood and imaging tests to diagnose your condition.
Depending on the kind of arthritis you have, what joints are affected, and how severe it is, Dr. Sivalingam and his team at First Valley Medical Group work with you to create an individualized treatment plan that will address the pain of attacks and also work to lessen the frequency of attacks.
Treatments begin with the least invasive option and progress to more aggressive approaches if your condition doesn’t respond. Dr. Sivalingam can suggest treatments that range from simple changes to your diet and exercise regime to oral medication and surgery.
Lifestyle changes like eating a healthy diet and doing at least 30 minutes of daily physical activity are the first steps to fighting your symptoms.
Maintaining a healthy weight and developing strong core and glutei (butt) muscles are also important to keep the strain off your already stressed joints.
Dr. Sivalingam can also coordinate with a physical therapist if you need specialized exercises.
For infectious kinds of arthritis, your provider will prescribe antibiotics to clear up the infection.
Patients with other types of arthritis like gout will be prescribed other types of medication like anti-inflammatories to help with pain or an immunosuppressant to keep your immune system from mistakenly attacking your joints.
For very severe cases, you might need surgery to repair or replace a damaged joint that isn’t responding to physical therapy.
If you’re suffering from joint pain, Dr. Sivalingam and his team at First Valley Medical Group can diagnose and treat your condition. To make an appointment, call the office or use the online scheduling tool today.