Arthritis: Is There a Cure?

Arthritis is a very common condition that almost everyone has heard of. Those of us who are familiar with the condition would classify it as a disorder that causes stiff and painful movements, which often hinders the performance of daily tasks. Still, despite arthritis being a common term that almost everyone can at least cursorily identify, it is easily misunderstood. Firstly, there are more than a hundred variations of the disorder. The term on its own is, to put it simply, a casual way to categorize joint pain or joint disease. In addition, while the disorder mostly affects the elderly, it is also found in people of all ages and sexes, which helps explain how it is one of the leading causes of disability. Everyone’s experience with arthritis is different, with symptoms varying from mild to severe and progression varying from slow to fast. Common symptoms that may disappear and reappear, according to the Arthritis Foundation, are swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with arthritis, the journey may be tough. This article is targeted to help explain the few treatments and a possible cure for the disorder. 

As previously mentioned, there are many types of arthritis. Unfortunately, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no cure for most of them. Rheumatologist Scott J. Zashin, MD, elaborates on the situation, explaining that, “… when someone speaks about a 'cure' for arthritis, you must take into account the type of arthritis. For example, there are several types of arthritis caused by infection, including Lyme disease and bacterial arthritis. Both can be cured by antibiotics. An arthritis due to a virus, such as parvovirus, is a self-limited condition (i.e., runs its course without treatment)... while symptoms may never return, this is not a true cure because if the patient goes off their diet or stops taking medication, the arthritis can indeed return" (https://www.verywellhealth.com/is-there-an-arthritis-cure-189277). So, knowing this, what can be done? The CDC also states that “early diagnosis and appropriate management” are two important steps in potentially helping to reduce symptoms and joint damage. This is especially true for the inflammatory types of arthritis. One example is by implementing the use of disease-modifying drugs, typically biological drugs, early on with variations of arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis. Luckily, there are currently many types of treatments which range from medications to physical therapy that can help reduce pain and also increase the patient’s quality of life.   

Research on arthritis continues and new treatments are being discovered constantly. For example, currently there is a new treatment that has been approved in South Korea which inserts genes into the affected joints. The website thesun.co.uk claims that it could help millions of people and that the treatment should come to the United States. The two types of arthritis that this treatment has been targeting are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, and according to the website, those who have tried it have been displaying “dramatic clinical improvement.” Another upside is that those who undergo the gene treatment can possibly avoid having to use drugs, which is important for individuals who cannot use certain types of medication. As the years continue, many more treatments continue to be discovered and hopefully, several new cures for other types of arthritis also appear.

In the end, everyone’s experience with the various kinds of arthritis is different. The best type of treatment depends on the patient as well as a knowledgeable physician. If you suspect that you may be developing arthritis, consulting your doctor may be a critical step in preparing to deal with the disorder, as early diagnosis is crucial. As for the question of “Is there a cure for arthritis?”, the answer is that there is a cure for some types, but not for most. Not yet, at least. However, there are many types of treatments available that are able to cover a wide range of patients. 

References:

https://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/understanding-arthritis/what-is-arthritis.php 

https://www.verywellhealth.com/is-there-an-arthritis-cure-189277

https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/ 

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/5411519/new-arthritis-jab-goes-directly-to-affected-area-could-help-millions/

Cherry Lam