What is arthritis?
Arthritis refers to a condition that causes stiffness, inflammation, or swelling of the joints. Although it is not a specific type of disease, arthritis can be used to refer to joint pain and joint diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 52.5 million Americans have some form of arthritis. This is just over 1 in 5 Americans.
Although you may feel mild discomfort at first, the symptoms can become more severe over time. These symptoms can eventually lead to work restrictions and impact your daily life. Although your risk of developing arthritis with age can be higher, this is not only a problem for older people. There are many risk factors that can be associated with each type of arthritis.
Your doctor can help you understand the risk factors and causes of arthritis so that you can take preventive steps. This will help prevent your arthritis symptoms from getting worse or delay its onset.
What causes arthritis?
There are many types of arthritis. The two main categories are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid. Each type of arthritis has its own causes.
Wear and tear
Most often, OA is caused by wear and tear to the joints. The wear and tear on your joints can lead to the loss of cartilage. This can cause bone to rub against other bone. This can cause pain and limit movement.
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RA occurs when the body’s immune systems attacks itself. The body specifically attacks the membrane surrounding the joints. Inflamed or swollen joint can lead to bone and cartilage destruction, pain, and eventually, inflamed joints. Other symptoms of inflammation include fever, loss of appetite and swelling.
Sometimes, arthritis can be accelerated by traumatic injury or infection. Reactive arthritis, for example, can develop from certain infections. This includes sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia and fungal infections.
Purines are substances found in food and cells. When purines are broken down, the body forms uric acid. High levels of uric acids are common in some people. The body cannot eliminate it and the acid builds up in the joints. Gout attacks are characterized by sudden and severe joint pain. Gout can be temporary or chronic.
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- Arthritis can also be caused by other skin or organ conditions. These conditions include:
- Psoriasis is a skin condition caused by excessive skin cell turnover.
- Sjogren’s is a disorder that can lead to decreased salivary and tear production, as well as systemic diseases.
Irritable bowel disease (or conditions that involve inflammation of the digestive system such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative Colitis)