What is Arthritis?
Arthritis means joint inflammation, but the term ‘arthritis’ is used to describe around 200 conditions that affect joints, the tissues that surround the joint, and other connective tissues. When joints become inflamed they tend to develop stiffness, swelling pain, minimized range of motion, and redness. In most of the cases, inflammation can cause irreversible damage to the impacted joint. However, the causes of most forms of arthritis are still unknown.
There are around more than 100 different kinds of arthritis and conditions related to it. People of all ages, sex and races can have arthritis, and it is the leading cause of disability in America. More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have one or the other type of arthritis. However, it is commonly seen among women and occurs more frequently as people get older.
Arthritis can be broken into three main categories:
- Osteoarthritis– Also known as degenerative joint disease, it is the most frequently diagnosed form of arthritis. It occurs when the cartilage inside a joint disintegrates and most often occurs after 40.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis– This type of arthritis occurs when the lining inside joints becomes inflamed, causing joint damage and pain. Most commonly it occurs in small joints of wrists, fingers, and hands. It strikes between the ages of 30 and 50.
- Juvenile Arthritis– It includes any type of arthritis that affects children younger than age 18. It occurs more often in girls than boys. It typically affects ankles, knees, and wrists, and might also affect hips, neck, jaw, and shoulders.
Why Arthritis Occurs?
Cartilage refers to a firm but flexible connective tissue in your joints. Basically, it protects the joints by absorbing the pressure and shock created when you move and put stress on them. A reduction in the usual amount of this cartilage can cause some forms of arthritis.
Normal wear and tear causes Osteoarthritis, which is one of the most common forms of arthritis. Your risk of developing Osteoarthritis might be higher if you have a family history of the disease. However, Rheumatoid Arthritis occurs when your body’s immune system attacks the tissues of the body.
How Arthritis Occurs?
With various forms of arthritis, the cause of arthritis is unknown. But there are some things that can raise your chances of getting it. Following are the reasons:
- Age– The older you get, the more worn down your joint gets.
- Gender– Almost every type of arthritis is more common among women.
- Genes– Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and ankylosing spondylitis are associated to certain genes.
- Excess Weight– Carrying extra pounds makes arthritis in the knees start sooner and gets worse faster.
- Injuries– Injuries can cause joint damage that can bring on conditions like arthritis.
- Infection– Viruses, bacteria, or fungi can infect the joints and can trigger inflammation.
- Work– If you go hard on your knees at work, like knee bends or squats; you might be more prone to osteoarthritis.