How Is Arthritis Affecting The Elderly?


Arthritis is becoming a much more common ailment in the UK and you may be surprised to know that there are over 100 types of the condition. It is estimated that there are currently 10 million people suffering from the condition within the UK, and it is becoming more common in individuals of all ages. In America the estimate is that there are 50 million people being affected. However at present it seems that it most common for elderly individuals to be suffering from Arthritis, as it is estimated that 70% of 70 year olds are suffering from the condition.

Symptoms Of Arthritis

There a number of different symptoms that an individual could experience and these include: joint pain, stiffness, tenderness, inflammation in and around the joints, restricted movement of the joints, weakness and muscle wasting, and a warmth or redness of the skin over the affected joint. If it is suspected that an individual is suffering from Arthritis then they are likely to be suffering from one or more of these symptoms. Symptoms and the intensity of the symptoms can vary depending on the type of Arthritis that an individual has.

Types Of Arthritis

There are a number of different types of Arthritis that could affect an individual and these include: Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Scoliosis, and Lupus. The different types of arthritis are divided into three different categories which are: inflammatory Arthritis, Non-inflammatory Arthritis, and Connective Tissue Disease.

Osteoarthritis is a non-inflammatory Arthritis. This is fast becoming the most common form of Arthritis in the UK, as it is estimated that it currently affects 8.5 million people. In cases of Osteoarthritis the cartilage in the joints becomes more brittle, rough and pitted. Changes occur to the cartilage, and bones surrounding the cartilage supports the strain on the cartilage by broadening and thickening. Bone outgrowth can also form on the joint, creating a knobbly appearance and a stiffness in the joint. This is all caused as a result of the connective tissue between the bones to gradually waste away, which leads to a painful rubbing of bones in the joint. Osteoarthritis is a slow progressive form of Arthritis, and this causes the symptoms to progress slowly and gradually worsen over time. There is no cure for Osteoarthritis at present, but there are a number of things that can be done to relieve the symptoms and these include: painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, and surgery may also be a viable option in the long-term, as joint replacements could severely reduce the amount of pain that an individual experiences.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an inflammatory form of Arthritis. This is a more severe form of Arthritis in comparison to Osteoarthritis, however in the UK at present it is a less common form of Arthritis, affecting about 0.4 million people. This condition affects joints when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the affected joints, and this in turn causes pain and swelling. The inflammation caused by Rheumatoid Arthritis affects: the membrane that lines the joint capsule, the tubes in which the tendons move, and the sacs of fluid that allow tendons and muscles to move smoothly over one and other. This condition causes the inflamed tissues and joints to become swollen, stiff and painful. Rheumatoid Arthritis can be extremely difficult to diagnose as it is a condition that affects everyone in a different way. There is no cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis but there are a number of ways in which it can be treated, and these include: anti-rheumatic drugs (to slow down the diseases progression), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, and joint replacement surgery.

Lupus is a connective tissue disease, affecting about 50,000 people in the UK. It is a condition which affects the immune system, as the immune system attacks the body instead of defending it. Lupus can affect individuals differently, and this makes it particularly difficult to diagnose. Common symptoms of Lupus include: fever, tiredness, joint and muscle pain, inflamed and stiff tendons and skin rashes. There is currently no cure for Lupus, but there are a number of treatments available and these include: steroids, non-steroidal ant-inflammatory drugs, and anti-rheumatic drugs. Lupus is generally more common in younger women of an African-Caribbean or Asian descent.

Scoliosis is a condition that affects the curvature of the spine. At present in the UK , Scoliosis affects 7 out of 10 adults over the age of 65. Symptoms of Scoliosis include: a noticeable curvature of the spine, a shoulder or hip being more prominent than the other, leaning to one side, back pain, incontinence, and a numbness or weakness in legs. There are a number of treatments available for those with Scoliosis, but in the case of adults the main focus is generally to relieve pain. Treatment options include: painkillers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, exercises, and in some cases a back brace or surgery may be viable treatment options. Scoliosis commonly affects more women than men.

Home Care And Arthritis

Implementing a home care package may prove to be extremely beneficial for individuals who are suffering from Arthritis. This is because a care worker would be able to support them with a number of areas of daily living including: personal care, domestic duties, meal preparation and medication management. A home care package can be extremely beneficial because it can provide the individual with the support that they need, particularly if they are in a lot of pain.

The Care Worker can encourage a person to remain active because despite the pain it has been shown that continuing to exercise can help to relieve the symptoms. Assistance with carrying out exercises can also be part of a daily routine.