The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) puts the number of adults who have been diagnosed with arthritis to 52.5 million. Arthritis can ruin a person's ability to engage in daily tasks. Early diagnosis of arthritis can help prevent irreversible disability and damage. Here is a look at what arthritis is, the causes, the symptoms, risk factors, and treatment options.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. A joint is the point where two bones meet. A joint helps move the parts connected by two bones. Arthritis often features joint pain which is also known as arthralgia. When an inflammation involves four joints and more it is known as polyarthritis. When an inflammation involves two joints and more, it is known as oligoarthritis. When an inflammation involves one joint, it is known as monoarthritis.
The term arthritis defines over 200 rheumatic conditions that affect the joints. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout.
What Causes Arthritis?
The cause for arthritis depends on the form or type of arthritis. Some of the potential causes include:
- Injury- This leads to degenerative arthritis
- Inheritance- Like is the case with osteoarthritis
- Immune system dysfunction- Like is the case with rheumatoid arthritis
- Infections- Like the arthritis caused by Lyme disease
Additional causes of arthritis include engaging in physically demanding tasks, smoking, and diet. Some of the foods that increase the likelihood of inflammation are diets with high levels of refined sugars or animal-derived dishes. Additionally, indulging in foods that provoke the immune system can aggravate arthritis symptoms. For example, gout is caused by eating a diet with high levels of purines. These are foods like red meats and wine, and sea food. Similarly, rheumatoid arthritis arises when one's immune system turns on the body's tissues, particularly the connective tissue. As a result, the affected person suffers from joint inflammation, degeneration of joint tissue, and pain.
What are the Symptoms of Arthritis?
The common symptoms of arthritis are:
- Pain: The are two types of pain: acute and chronic pain
- Limited motion
When arthritis affects the joints of one's fingers, the affected person will experience bone growth and lose the grip of their hand. With rheumatic arthritis, some of the symptoms affect the body organs that are not directly associated with the joints. In such cases, a person may experience symptoms such as gland swelling, fever, fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite, and abnormalities with the heart, kidneys, or lungs.
What are the Risk Factors of Arthritis?
Some of the risk factors of arthritis include:
- Family history: One's genes may make them more vulnerable to environmental factors responsible for arthritis.
- Age: Many forms of arthritis come with age. These include rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and osteoarthritis.
- Sex: Women are more susceptible to developing rheumatoid arthritis than men. On the other hand, most people with gout are men.
- Obesity: Excess weight puts pressure on the joints; especially the spine, hips, and knees. Obese people have a high likelihood of suffering from arthritis.
- Previous joint injury: Persons who have injured their joint while engaging in a sport or physical activity are likely to get arthritis in that specific joint.
Treatment Options For Arthritis
The main aim of treating arthritis is to alleviate the pain one is experiencing and prevent further joint damage. Some of the treatment options include:
- Ice packs and heating pads for soothing pain
- Mobility assistance devices like walkers or canes to take of the pressure from sore joints
- Surgery to replace knees and hips with artificial ones. Surgery may also be used on wrists or fingers. This type of surgery is known as joint fusion and involves locking the bones together to promote healing
- Physical therapy that involves exercises that strengthen the muscles surrounding the affected joint
Top 5 Routes for "Causes Of Arthritis"
- Healthline.com A valuable resource for all kinds of news and information on health conditions and aimed at physicians, students, and a general audience searching for information.
- Medicalnewstoday.com A valuable resource that provides current research, news, and breakthroughs in medicine. It is a good site for researchers, students, and physicians.
- Medicinenet.com A website that provides health related articles for researchers, students, and a general audience willing to educate themselves about different medical conditions.
- Mayoclinic.com A health resource that covers research on different medical conditions.
- Arthritis.org A valuable site for patients with arthritis and those who are likely to suffer from arthritis. It provides recent research and information on the condition.