William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- Arthritis facts
- What is arthritis?
- How many types of arthritis exist?
- What causes arthritis?
- What are risk factors for arthritis?
- What are arthritis symptoms and signs?
- Who is affected by arthritis?
- How do health-care professionals diagnose arthritis? Why is a diagnosis important?
- Is there an arthritis diet?
- Are there foods to avoid when you have arthritis?
- What is the treatment for arthritis?
- What are the prognosis (outlook) for arthritis, and what are arthritis complications?
- Is it possible to prevent arthritis?
- What is a rheumatologist, and what specialties of doctors treat arthritis?
- What is the Arthritis Foundation?
- Find a local Rheumatologist in your town
What is the treatment for arthritis?
The treatment of arthritis is very dependent on the precise type of arthritis present. An accurate diagnosis increases the chances for successful treatment. Treatments available include physical therapy, home remedies, splinting, cold-pack application, paraffin wax dips, anti-inflammatory medications, pain medications (ranging from acetaminophen [Tylenol] to narcotics), immune-altering medications, biologic medications, and surgical operations. For treatments of particular forms of arthritis, see the corresponding articles for the form of arthritis of interest.
What are the prognosis (outlook) for arthritis, and what are arthritis complications?
The outlook for patients with arthritis depends on its severity, complications, and whether or not there are non-joint manifestations of the disease. For example, rheumatoid arthritis can affect the lungs, kidneys, eyes, etc. Chronic joint inflammation can lead to permanent damage to the joint and loss of joint function, making movement difficult or impossible.
Is it possible to prevent arthritis?
Since most forms of arthritis are inherited to some degree, there is no real way to prevent them. Arthritis that follows joint injury could be prevented by adhering to safety regulations and trying to avoid becoming injured. Arthritis related to infection (for examples, septic arthritis, reactive arthritis, Whipple's disease) could be prevented by not becoming infected with the causative organism. The extent to which this is possible varies depending upon the individual condition.
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