Arthritis is a common and painful condition that includes over 100 different forms of the disease. Arthritis affects the joints of the body with symptoms including stiffness, swelling, and pain. Patients of any gender, race, or age, even children can develop arthritis, although the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis, is most often found in adults over the age of 65.
While arthritis has strong links to family genetics, arthritis is also common to athletes and people with very physical jobs. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative form of the disease that is caused by wear and tear on the joints where the cushioning surface on the ends of bones wears away over time. The swelling, stiffness, and pain result from the unprotected areas rubbing against each other.
Diagnosing arthritis is not entirely straightforward and several tests may be needed to identify the underlying condition. In addition to a manual exam of the affected joints, Dr. Boyd may order X-rays, CAT scans, MRIs, and blood tests to determine the specific kind of arthritis.
In some cases Dr. Boyd will perform a joint aspiration to gather more information about the joint. A syringe is used to draw some fluid from inside the joint be analyzed to reveal if the symptoms are related to gout arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Joint fluid is also evaluated for a white cell count, the formation of crystals, protein, and glucose, which are helpful in determining the cause of a particular type of arthritis.
Dr. Boyd customizes treatment to address the specific needs of each patient. Treatment may range from the application of hot and cold compresses and the use of over the counter anti-inflammatory medications to corticosteroids or anti rheumatic drugs and splinting.
Dr. Boyd does suggest that his patients add gentle exercise to their daily habits as the regular motion can help to preserve flexibility with some forms of arthritis. Exercise offers a myriad of other health benefits that will improve the patient's overall well being.
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