Arthritis and arthrosis what is the difference, prevention and treatment

The most common joint pathologies are arthritis and arthrosis. Two diseases have many differences, on which the outcome of the disease largely depends. The correct definition of the disease by a medical specialist is the key to effective treatment for the complete restoration of affected joints. Under the influence of age-related changes, each person has a risk of pathological changes in the joints. Particularly affected are joints that are exposed to increased stress throughout their lives. Diseases can be a direct cause of joint changes. In order to prevent undesirable consequences from joint diseases, it is necessary to prevent the disease from developing, adhering to preventive and treatment measures.

Shishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic Shishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologist, project editor-in-chief ExpertNews.

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The main differences between arthritis and arthrosis

Joint pathologies: arthritis and arthrosis negatively affect the patient’s quality of life. The pathogenic process in the joint causes soreness and limitation of movement. Both diseases lead to destructive changes in the joint structure, but differ in the nature of the origin and course of the disease.

Arthritis, when compared with arthrosis, is an acute or chronic inflammatory pathology of the joints that can occur with infections or diseases of an autoimmune nature, become a complication after an injury, and also occur with allergic reactions.

Single and multiple joints are inflamed. In addition, the inflammatory process spreads throughout the body, involving internal organs in the process.

Arthrosis is the process of modifying cartilage, leading to the destruction of joints until the complete loss of the ability to move, as well as arthritis. A pathological process develops in view of age-related changes in the tissues of the joint, which are exacerbated by excess weight of the diseased, metabolic disorders and pathologies of the endocrine system.

The causes of arthritis and arthrosis are significantly different. The only unifying factor is the similarity of some symptoms and the deplorable outcome of untreated forms.

Arthritis triggering factors:

  • the development of inflammation of the articular tissues of the knee after an injury of a different nature;
  • infectious damage to the knee of a viral, fungal and bacterial etiology;
  • severe allergies;
  • prolonged exposure to cold air;
  • lack of vitamins and minerals;
  • hereditary predisposition.

The occurrence of arthrosis differs from arthritis in the inevitability of the appearance of changes in every person of age. Knowing the etiology of the disease, even at a young age, it is possible to adjust the diet and lifestyle to prevent pathology.

Development occurs under the following conditions:

  • wear of the components of the joint occurs from aging;
  • increased body weight significantly increases the daily load on the knees;
  • deforming disorders due to injuries;
  • malnutrition;
  • arthrosis can be a complication of arthritis, more precisely, inflammation present in this disease;
  • autoimmune pathologies of unknown etiology;
  • congenital pathologies associated with joints;
  • violation of trophism and blood supply to the joint;
  • malfunctions of the thyroid gland;
  • hormonal changes;
  • polluted environment.
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Differences Features

These two diseases are similar in sound, but differ in many ways. Among the young population, up to forty years old, arthritis is more common, and the destructive processes of cartilage affect the elderly, and the older the person, the greater the risk of the disease.

Arthrosis is a disease that is localized mainly in the joints, not spreading to surrounding organs and tissues. Arthritis can be one of the manifestations of a more serious disease, involving the whole body in the inflammatory process. Both diseases can occur in acute and chronic form, only arthrosis develops longer and can lead to complete destruction of the joints.

Arthritis has a brighter symptomatology, accompanied by external manifestations characteristic of inflammation: hyperemia in the localization of the process, severe swelling, hot skin in the affected joint, pain. Arthrosis proceeds more smoothly, without spreading beyond the joint.

Arthritis, unlike arthrosis, most often involves small joints in the process: hands, feet, wrist and ankle joints. The disease rarely affects one joint, polyarthritis is a more common form, and arthrosis is localized in large joints.

According to statistics, middle-aged men are more likely to develop articular pathology from infections and viruses. Joint deforming processes are most common in the female population during menopause, mainly after a fifty-year milestone. Children can also be affected by joint damage, juvenile arthritis is considered especially dangerous, which can cause disability.

Signs of manifestation

For successful recovery and joint restoration for optimal motor activity, it is important to seek medical advice when the first symptoms appear. Arthritis and arthrosis differ significantly in the initial period of the disease. Inflammation is manifested by the severity of symptoms, according to which it is easy not to miss the beginning process.

Dystrophic changes in joint tissues at the initial stage are weakly manifested, therefore, often patients come to the orthopedist when the disease is at the second or third stage of development. In this case, the treatment is complicated, lasts a long time and requires many measures to restore the normal functionality of the joints. A sluggish process is difficult to diagnose on your own, but with any manifestation of discomfort in the joint, you just need to go to the doctor to not miss the initial stage of the disease.

How does arthritis manifest itself?

  1. Unlike arthrosis, with arthritis, edema appears around the inflamed joint, restricting movement and causing a lot of inconvenience when moving independently.
  2. In acute inflammation, the skin on the joint becomes brightly hyperemic and hot to the touch.
  3. If arthritis is a species caused by an infection. The general condition of the patient suffers, intoxication begins, which is accompanied by a febrile state.
  4. Piercing pain appears in the inflamed joints, which tends to increase significantly with movement. In a calm state, the pain syndrome does not subside, but becomes pulsating.
  5. In most cases, arthritis is accompanied by a general deterioration, weakness appears, and chronic diseases worsen.
  6. The most vulnerable are the joints of the fingers and toes, as well as the ankle and hand.

Symptoms of Arthrosis

Manifestations of arthrosis have no characteristic signs in the first years of the disease, wear of the joint makes itself felt after several stages of the development of the pathological condition.

  • pain does not appear immediately, the pain intensifies as the condition of the joint worsens;
  • in the absence of movement, pain does not occur, pain begins to develop with activation;
  • with damage to the hip or knee joint – the gait becomes lame, and the range of motion is incomplete;
  • in advanced conditions, shortening of the lower limb may occur, in the absence of correction, pathologies of the spinal column develop;
  • when the cartilage tissue is destroyed, the joint loses mobility and a complete blockade of the joint occurs;
  • pronounced crepitus in the joint during motor activity.

How to treat diseases?

Arthritis and arthrosis are significantly different in their approach to treatment. Various causes and mechanisms of the development of pathology suggest an initial diagnosis of the correct so that therapeutic measures are effective.

In order not to start the disease and miss valuable time, you should not rely on the experience of friends and folk recipes. Painful processes that are detrimental to the joints should not be allowed to drift. It is important to feel the joy of movement at any age, not only well-being, but also the quality of human life depends on it.

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Treatment should begin with the identification of factors that cause inflammation. Having determined the nature of the origin of the disease, drugs are prescribed that destroy the pathogen. When exposed to pathogenic bacteria, the patient is prescribed antibiotics (Azithromycin, Tetracycline, Doxycycline), which, depending on the severity of intoxication, are prescribed in the form of tablets or injections. Viral lesions are treated with antiviral tablets (Cycloferon, Kagocel, Viferon).

The basis for the effective removal of inflammation and suppression of pain will be the mandatory use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Movalis, Diclofenac, Ketoprofen, Piroxicam). They will help to cope with undesirable symptoms, both when taking pills, and local effects on the area of ​​the affected joint.

Strengthening immunity is the basis for a successful fight against the disease. Reception of multivitamins with microelements (Complivit, Duovit, Vitrum) will support a weakened body and help to turn the course of the disease towards recovery. In addition to synthetic complexes, natural sources of vitamin are useful – berries, fruits, vegetables.

Nutrition and a special diet are indicated for patients with arthritis, as well as with arthrosis. The permitted products include fermented milk products, low-fat varieties of meat, fish, vegetables, greens. Have to give up strong coffee and black tea, carbonated and alcoholic drinks.

Physiotherapy exercises and physiotherapeutic procedures give an excellent result in combination with the main therapy: magnetic pulse field treatment, radon baths, electrophoresis and other methods. The list of special exercises is made by a physiotherapist, under whose supervision the load is performed.

We treat arthrosis

The disease develops slowly and has a fundamentally different treatment, which should be aimed at restoring the cartilage of the joint. The real salvation will be the use of chondroprotectors (Arthra, Teraflex, Donna), capable of inhibiting the progression of destructive changes and repairing damaged cells with prolonged use and following the doctor’s recommendations.

Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate support tissue nutrition and promote cartilage restoration processes, as well as an increase in the production of joint fluid, which serves as the sole source of nutrition for the components of the joint.

When pain occurs, it is recommended that you take NSAIDs (Meloxicam, Celebrex, Nimulide) for the symptomatic treatment of pain. Vitamin nutrition, the abandonment of alcohol and smoking leads to increased body resistance and increased strength to fight for healthy joints.

Therapeutic gymnastics by various methods enhances blood circulation at the site of the lesion, makes the joints move, increasing trophism. Folk recipes, tested over the years, are beneficial, as an additional method of alternative medicine.

In the last stages of arthrosis and arthritis, the only solution will be the surgical treatment of the joint capsule. The most commonly used method is cartilage transplantation, which can restore mobility to the affected joint.

How to determine the disease?

In order to accurately state which disease develops in the joints, you must make an appointment with an experienced orthopedist. At the first meeting, the doctor will conduct a visual examination and ask questions of interest that will help to compile a picture of the disease.

Differentiate arthritis from arthrosis will help the results of laboratory blood tests, this will require a general and biochemical analyzes. X-ray examination will help to examine in detail the joint from the inside.

For some pathologies, the patient is sent for a magnetic resonance examination, which will give answers to the doctor’s questions regarding the diagnosis of pathology. After collecting all the results, a diagnosis will be made, which will serve as the basis for prescribing treatment.

preventive measures

In order for the joints to remain healthy, it is necessary to lead a healthy lifestyle. Proper nutrition and regular exercise will extend the life of the joints, which is important for maintaining overall health.

At the slightest manifestations of arthrosis or arthritis, in no case should you be treated on your own. Incorrect action can negatively affect the outcome of the disease. Timely contacting a specialist and further adherence to appointments guarantees successful treatment, which will make it possible to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Morozov Georgiy

Rheumatologist. For more than 20 years, he has been involved in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of joint diseases. Specialization: diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases and deformations of the musculoskeletal system.