Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more joints in the body. The disease is one of the most common chronic health conditions in the United States. Steroids are a class of drugs that reduce inflammation and have a suppressing effect on the immune system. It is because of these properties your doctor may prescribe you steroids to reduce the symptoms of arthritis. Steroids are potent as well as quick-acting medications. They resemble the body’s natural anti-inflammatory hormone, cortisol. They may be administered in a variety of ways ranging from topical (applied over the skin in the form of ointments or creams), oral, and injections given in the muscles, veins, or the joint space (intraarticular).
Steroids should never be started or stopped without consulting the doctor. It must be remembered that though steroids can cause quick relief from pain, long term use of steroids is associated with harmful effects on bones like reduced bone mass and avascular death of some parts of the hip joint. Steroids also have other systemic adverse effects. It is therefore important to discuss with your doctor before starting medications. They are used in different types of arthritis, particularly for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
What is arthritis?
There are many types of arthritis and their underlying cause varies depending on the type of arthritis. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are two of the common types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs due to the wear and tear associated with age or injuries. Rheumatoid arthritis or RA is caused by an autoimmune phenomenon, which means that the body’s immune system in RA attacks the normal lining of the joints causing arthritis.
Some of the other types of arthritis are:
- Psoriatic arthritis: An inflammatory condition that mainly affects the skin and joints.
- Juvenile arthritis: It affects children and teens.
- Gout: A disease in which defective uric acid metabolism causes arthritis.
- Reactive arthritis: A joint inflammation triggered by an infection in another part of the body, such as bowel, genitals, or urinary tract.
- Infectious arthritis: A sudden and painful arthritis due to joint infection.
- Lupus: A long-term condition that affects various parts of the body including the skin and joints.
- Ankylosing spondylitis: An inflammatory condition affecting the spine and large joints.
What are the risk factors for arthritis?
The triggers for arthritis may vary according to the type of the disease. Most types of arthritis do not have a known cause. Studies, however, have revealed the role of three major factors in certain types of arthritis:
- Genetic (inherited) factors causing some types of arthritis to run in families
- Physical activity and diet
- Presence of other medical conditions, such as infections and chronic diseases like lupus
Several factors may increase a person’s risk for arthritis:
- Age: The risk of getting arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis, increases with age. Age may also worsen the symptoms of arthritis.
- Gender: Arthritis generally affects women more than men.
- Weight: Being obese or overweight puts extra stress on the joints that support an individual’s weight. Increased weight beyond the normal range for a person’s age and height increases joint wear and tear and the risk of arthritis.
- Occupation: Certain jobs may involve the worker to keep doing the same movements repeatedly. These include jobs where one needs to do heavy lifting or repeated fine work as done by musicians. It can cause joint stress and/or an injury, which may lead to arthritis.
- Injury: Joint injury or trauma may cause osteoarthritis.
- Autoimmune diseases: These may misdirect the immune system towards the joints as seen in rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
- Infections: Certain infections may lead to joint inflammation as seen in tubercular arthritis and septic arthritis.
Latest Health News
- Lots of Nightmares in Middle Age Might Be Warning Sign of Dementia
- AHA News: Waiting For Takeoff, Her Heart Stopped. Flight Attendants Came to the Rescue.
- Big Studies Test Effectiveness of Common Diabetes Meds
- Can Deep Brain Stimulation Cure Severe OCD?
- A Good Night's Sleep Recharges Immune System
- More Health News »
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top Do Steroids Help With Arthritis? Related Articles
12 Early Signs of Arthritis in HandsHand arthritis occurs when there is inflammation in one or more joints of the hand and wrist. A few of the common types of arthritis that affect the hands are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis (arthritis as a result of an injury), psoriatic arthritis and gout.
14 Early Signs of Arthritis in the LegsLeg arthritis affects the joints of the hips, knees, ankles or feet. The early signs and symptoms of arthritis in the legs include pain, swelling, stiffness, decreased range of motion, trouble walking, fever, bump-like swelling and other symptoms.
Arthritis in Knee: 4 Stages of OsteoarthritisPainful joint swelling is called arthritis. Osteoarthritis is due to wear and tear of the joints over many years. Arthritis maye develop in any joint, including the fingers, hips and knees. Usually, patients with arthritis feel pain in their joints even after moderate movements. There are four stages of osteoarthritis of the knee.
Fungal ArthritisFungal arthritis is inflammation of a joint by a fungus that has invaded the body and is growing in the normally sterile joint. Fungal arthritis symptoms and signs include pain, redness, loss of range of motion, and swelling. Fungal arthritis treatment includes antibiotics, adequate drainage of the joint, and sometimes surgery.
OA of the Knee ExercisesLearn about osteoarthritis and exercises that relieve knee osteoarthritis pain, stiffness and strengthen the knee joint and surrounding muscles through this picture slideshow.
Osteoarthritis QuizHow does osteoarthritis differ from other types of arthritis? Learn about osteoarthritis with this quiz.
Psoriatic ArthritisPsoriatic arthritis is a disease that causes skin and joint inflammation. Symptoms and signs include painful, stiff, and swollen joints, tendinitis, and organ inflammation. Treatment involves anti-inflammatory medications and exercise.
Psoriatic Arthritis PicturePsoriatic arthritis is a specific condition in which a person has both psoriasis and arthritis. See a picture of Psoriatic Arthritis and learn more about the health topic.
Psoriatic Arthritis QuizHow is psoriatic arthritis related to psoriasis? Take this quiz to find out!
Reactive ArthritisReactive arthritis is a chronic, systemic rheumatic disease characterized by three conditions, including conjunctivitis, joint inflammation, and genital, urinary, or gastrointestinal system inflammation. Inflammation leads to pain, swelling, warmth, redness, and stiffness of the affected joints. Non-joint areas may experience irritation and pain. Treatment for reactive arthritis depends on which area of the body is affected. Joint inflammation is treated with anti-inflammatory medications.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease resulting in chronic inflammation of the joints, the tissue around the joints, as well as other organs in the body. Early RA signs and symptoms include anemia, both sides of the body affected (symmetric), depression, fatigue, fever, joint deformity, joint pain, joint redness, joint stiffness, joint swelling, joint tenderness, joint warmth, limping, loss of joint function, loss of joint range of motion, and polyarthritis.
16 Early Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Signs & SymptomsEarly rheumatoid arthritis (RA) symptoms and signs vary differently from person to person. The most common body parts that are initially affected by RA include the small joints of the hands, wrists, and feet, and the knees and hip joints. Joint inflammation causes stiffness. Warmth, redness, and pain may vary in degree.
RA Friendly ExercisesRegular exercise boosts fitness and helps reverse joint stiffness for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). WebMD demonstrates helpful exercises to get you started.
RA SlideshowWhat is rheumatoid arthritis (RA)? Learn about treatment, diagnosis, and the symptoms of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Discover rheumatoid arthritis (RA) causes and the best medication for RA and JRA.
RA QuizHow is rheumatoid arthritis different from other forms of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis and gout? Take the Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Quiz to rest your RA IQ.
Rheumatoid Arthritis vs. FibromyalgiaThough rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and fibromyalgia have similar symptoms, RA is an autoimmune disease and fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome. RA symptoms include joint redness, swelling, and pain that lasts more than six weeks. Fibromyalgia symptoms include widespread pain, tingling feet or hands, depression, and bowel irritability. Home remedies for both include stress reduction, exercise, and getting enough sleep.
Septic ArthritisSeptic arthritis, or infectious arthritis, is infection of one or more joints by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Symptoms and signs of septic arthritis include fever, joint pain, chills, swelling, redness, warmth, and stiffness. Treatment involves antibiotics and the drainage of the infected joint.