What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is an inflammation in the joints, but it is also used to describe more than 100 rheumatic diseases and conditions that affect joints, the tissues surrounding joints, and other connective tissue. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 54.4 million adults in the United States have some form of arthritis. People of all ages, sexes and races can have arthritis, which makes it the leading cause of disability in America. Arthritis is more common among adults aged 65 or older, but it can affect people of all ages including children. It is also more common in women than men and in people who are overweight.
What are the symptoms of Arthritis?
Joint pain, stiffness, swelling, and decreased range of motions are the most common arthritis symptoms. Many people experience trouble dressing, gripping items, bending over, squatting and even climbing stairs depending on which joints are affected. Some people experience morning stiffness, pain when walking and stiffness after resting. Your joints may be warm to the touch, swollen and harder to move, or unable to move through a full range of motion. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain with inability to do daily activities.
Types Of Arthritis
There are many different types of arthritis conditions, but the four main groups include: inflammatory arthritis, degenerative arthritis, soft tissue musculoskeletal pain, infectious arthritis and metabolic arthritis.
- Inflammatory Arthritis – The immune system generates internal inflammation to get rid of infection and prevent disease. Inflammatory types of arthritis cause the immune system to not function properly and it mistakenly attacks the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and gout are examples of inflammatory arthritis.
- Degenerative Arthritis – Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. When the cartilage wears away, bone begins to rub against bone and causes pain, swelling, and stiffness. Over time, the pain can become chronic pain as the joints lose strength.
- Infection Arthritis – A bacterium, virus, or fungus that enters a joint can sometimes cause inflammation. Some examples include: salmonella, shigella, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and Hepatitis C. The arthritis can sometimes become chronic, and joint damage may be irreversible if the infection has persisted for some time.
- Metabolic Arthritis – Uric acid is formed by the body to break down purines. Purines is a substances found in human cells and in many foods. Some people have high levels of uric acid because they produce more than is needed by the body. Uric acid builds up and accumulates in some people and forms needle-like crystals in the joint, resulting in sudden spikes of extreme joint pain or a gout attack.
What Causes Arthritis?
A reduction in the normal amount of cartilage tissue causes some forms of arthritis. But, there is no single cause of all types of arthritis. Possible causes include: Injury, inheritance, infections, abnormal metabolism, immune system dysfunction. Most types of arthritis are linked to a combination of a factors. Some people may be genetically more likely to develop certain arthritic conditions. Poor diet, smoking and even physically demanding occupations can increase the risk of arthritis.
How is Arthritis Treated?
Everyone has a different experience with arthritis, as a result, it is essential to communicate honestly with your doctor to get the right treatment. The main goal of treatment is to reduce the amount of pain being experienced and prevent additional damage to the joints. Some treatments include: medicine, physical therapy, and surgery. In addition, certain lifestyle changes may help to reduce the effects of arthritis like weight lose, healthy diet, and exercise. While there is no cure for arthritis, the right treatments can greatly reduce your symptoms.