The body tends to lose calcium and other mineral contents with aging. Arthritis is a common problem with seniors. People over the age of 65 in almost all countries develop higher chances of developing arthritis pain attacking the joints in one or more parts of the body. While pain and swelling may occur at some point, the major concern is the damages to the joints.
Arthritis Symptoms and Diagnosis in Older Adults
- Severe pain, swelling, redness or stiffness at the joints
- Tenderness feeling while touching the joints
- Difficulty in moving the joints
If the above symptoms last for more than two weeks in your elder relative, consulting a rheumatologist can help you in proper treatment and caring process. Some physical tests, X-rays, and laboratory examinations may be done to identify the problem, the type of arthritis and the level of severity. The treatment process, medication, physiotherapy and other assisted care services are generally suggested based on these reports.
Types of Major Arthritis Complications
Osteoarthritis (OA): OA is very common in elderly people and result in the gradual wearing of cartilages. Patients may experience stiffness and pain while walking, moving their joints, etc. The pain may last for some time after some physical activity. The pain may also exist during resting period or sleep.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): This type of arthritis is categorized as an autoimmune disease. The lining along the joints are largely affected due to RA and the patients may have inflammation, redness and swelling at the joints. There can be difficulty in moving the joints and the duration of the pain can stretch to several hours. This is largely seen in women.
Gout: Gout is considered the most painful arthritis. Under this type of arthritis, uric acid crystals may deposit at the joint spaces and connective tissues. Heat, swelling, pain, redness and stiffness may persist for long. The patients can experience swelling in elbows, toes, ankles, knees, wrists etc.
Reactive Arthritis: This form of Arthritis is also termed as Reiter’s Syndrome. Reactive Arthritis may occur in the body in form of joint inflammation that is largely caused by some sort of infection in other parts of the body such as eye inflammation or conjunctivitis. Some people also get this type of symptoms due to the inflammation in the urinary tract (urethritis).
Treatment of Arthritis and Care for Elderly
Some analgesic creams may be applied to reduce the pain. Glucosamine supplements and similar others often help to reduce the symptoms considerably. Doctors recommend that people over the age of 50 should be given 1200mg of calcium doses to compensate the wearing of the minerals from the bones. In some rare cases, the doctors may suggest surgical procedure to get rid of the problem.
People imparting elderly care services at home need to take care of these issues and impart medication such as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) as per recommendations. In some cases, the physiotherapy sessions may be advised by the doctor. Exercising, physiotherapy and weight loss (for obese seniors) have been considered the best measures for reducing the complications. While walking, try to use wedges or insoles in your shoes for better comfort.
Ignoring the early symptoms of arthritis can increase the problems and complicate the treatment procedure. Proper medical assistance and elderly care measures should be taken to reduce the problems.