Arthritis – a very common chronic illness that causes inflammation and pain in the joints along with other parts of our bones. The more we age, the likelihood of suffering from Arthritis increases. It’s so common that almost one-fifth of the adult population has some variation of arthritis.
Oh, and did I say, that there are a lot of variation and types of arthritis.
We have dedicated this article to talk about this widespread illness which has no proper treatment – to help patients or concerned citizens in increasing their awareness!
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is an umbrella word/term for various bone and jointly related illness. And by various I mean over a hundred. There are over hundred types of Arthritis which affect different parts of the bone in different ways and have different causes. Some can even cause damage to internal organs like heart, eye etc.
Generally, Arthritis refers to the inflammation and pain that is caused by the wearing off of the cartilage of the bone (which is a flexible tissue found in between the joints of our bone, that help absorbs shocks). But again, there can be various causes for different types of arthritis.
Even though there are plenty of different types of arthritis, two of them osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are exceptionally common.
Coming to the demographics – aged people are more likely to get arthritis. Apart from that, there is a higher chance for a female (than a male) to get arthritis and the same can also be said for overweight people.
Arthritis symptoms do not usually appear overnight but build its way up and develop over time.
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What causes Arthritis?
Again, addressing the fact that there are different types of arthritis. Different variations have different causes. But we are going to mention the most common causes and also the type of arthritis they lead to.
Wearing off of the bone’s cartilage (cartilage is the tissue found between the joints of the bones which protects the bones from shock and acts as a spongy layer) – this is one of the, if not the most common cause of arthritis.
Due to some heavy activities which can put a load on the joints, the layer of this tissue can wear off. Aging can also be the reason for it, as we age our bone’s cartilage automatically begins to erode off.
Apart from those, weight can also be a risk factor because, more the weight of the body – higher the stress on the joints.
Infections to your joints triggered by any fungi or bacteria can trigger inflammation which can lead to bone damage.
Joints that are most commonly affected are the knees, hips, spine, feet.
This wear and tear of the joints can lead to several kinds of arthritis; significant of them is one that we have already mentioned in the article – osteoarthritis, which is (arguably) the most common form of arthritis.
Now, another very common cause can be our very own “immune system”. Rheumatoid arthritis which we have mentioned earlier as one of the most widespread types of arthritis is an auto-immune disease. In the respective condition, the immune system starts attacking its own host (own body).
In rheumatoid arthritis, the joints of our bones (mostly) are the victims. The immune system along with inflammation can cause very severe damage to the cartilage of the bone.
Many times, the patient suffering from RA will get lumps on the affected area(s).
A thing to note is that scientists and researchers still don’t know why this phenomenon takes place. All that we have now is a vague assumption that out immune system mistakes our joints as a threat and starts causing harm.
What is arthritis symptoms?
Symptoms of arthritis will vary among different types of arthritis because of different causation.
Saying that we can always go through the most common and widespread symptoms of arthritis. Because unattended arthritis can develop into a much greater problem and some harm can’t be reversed (even with treatment).
So it’s always better to be aware of the common indications so that you know when it’s time to seek some medical help.
The common symptoms are:
• Aching pain in the joints (it can be sharp as well as intermittent)
• Swelling in the affected area(s)
• Decreased range of motion, difficulty in moving the muscles and doing day to day activities
• Stiffness in the affected area(s)
• A feeling of tiredness, fatigue (RA)
• Mild fever (RA)
• Loss of appetite
What is the treatment?
Although there is no proper cure for this illness, measures can be taken to minimize the symptoms, prevent future damages and ultimately for better living experience.
From medication to a healthy lifestyle to surgery, treatments can vary a lot.
Different people opt for different solutions as per their needs and lifestyle.
It’s always recommended for people to take up a healthy lifestyle and start eating healthy, skipping the junk.
This will not only help in the improvement of arthritis but the body as a whole. Patients are encouraged to include foods that have ant-oxidants in their diets, which will help in reducing the inflammation caused by the illness.
Exercises are a boon. Regular exercise will keep the body fit and the joints flexible. The patient will also have to keep an eye his/her weight as well!
Some patients have also reported that physical therapy helped their condition a lot. Ice packs and hot packs have also been used to decrease the pain.
Now, if we talk about medicines, there are various painkillers and NSAIDs available. Your doctor can prescribe a combination that is well fit for you.
Lastly, coming to the surgeries. Depending on the type of arthritis, the affected joint (i.e. knees or hips) can be replaced with an artificial one. So, the pain can be eliminated. (Although there are many different methods)
Summary: Arthritis is a chronic condition in which the patient suffers from severe pain and inflammation in the joints and other parts of the bone.
There are a lot of variations of arthritis. Two most common of them, are called osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Just like every illness, the causes can vary. But generally, an infection in the joint or circumstances which lead to the wearing off of the bone cartilage are the main reasons.
Although arthritis is widespread and very common, elderly citizens and females are more likely to get it.
Currently, there is no proper treatment available for arthritis. But patients can surely take various measures and opt for a healthy lifestyle which will decrease the symptoms and will be effective for the long run.