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Types of Arthritis Affecting Seniors

By Dian Brannen, 8:00 am on

Just about any type of arthritis affecting seniors can result in pain that can make movements like walking or simply getting up from a sitting position more painful. If you provide home care for an aging parent or loved one, understanding the different types of arthritis can help you better recognize symptoms so that the appropriate treatments can begin as soon as possible.

Osteoarthritis

Characterized by a slow deterioration of cartilage in the joints and results in varying degrees of pain, osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease) is the most common form of arthritis. It’s a condition that affects the weight-bearing joints of seniors (feet, knees, hips, spine), which can increase the severity of pain from lumbar spinal stenosis and other common age-related conditions. Symptoms include:

  • Pain during movements
  • Swelling around joints
  • Stiffness in joints (even with little or no movement)

Rheumatoid Arthritis

With rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system essentially attacks itself, resulting in swelling in the joint lining. RA can affect all joints, except those in the lower back. The resulting inflammation spreads to surrounding tissues, often resulting in cartilage and tissue damage. In some patients, pain tends to be worse in the morning. RA symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Discomfort in multiple joints
  • Redness and swelling around joints

Gout

Gout is caused by needle-like crystals that form on joints when the body is unable to eliminate a substance called uric acid. Often affecting joints in the big toe, knee and wrist, gout is associated with the following symptoms:

  • Sudden pain or swelling (often during the night)
  • Occasional flareups (sometimes caused by increased stress)
  • Swelling around “cooler” joints (fingers, toes)

Making a Diagnosis

X-rays or MRIs are often used to determine the type of arthritis that may be affecting a senior experiencing joint pain. Arthritis risk factors, other than age, include:

  • Excess weight
  • Diabetes (and other conditions likely to affect joints)
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Heredity

If your loved one has been diagnosed with arthritis and is having trouble with activities of daily living such as cooking, light housekeeping or bathing, ensure their safety with help from the highly trained caregivers at Home Care Assistance of the Lehigh Valley.

Home Care Assistance is a trusted provider of senior home care, offering flexible hourly and live-in care in the Lehigh Valley. All of our services come backed with a 100% satisfaction guarantee and we never ask our clients to sign a long-term contract because we understand that your loved one’s needs may change at any time. To request a complimentary, no-obligation consultation with a friendly Care Manager, call 484-350-3874 today.