Arthritis is a broad term that covers a group of over 100 diseases. About 1 out of 5 adults have some form of the condition. It can happen to anyone, but it becomes more common as you age. We will answer the question, “What is Arthritis?”, as well as discuss the symptoms of Arthritis, causes, risk factors and treatment options.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a joint disorder featuring inflammation. A joint is an area of your body where two different bones meet. It functions to move your body parts connected by its bones. Arthritis can affect one joint or multiple joints.
Two of the most common types of arthritis include the following:
Osteoarthritis involves wear-and-tear damage to your joint’s cartilage — the hard, slick coating on the ends of bones.
Wear-and-tear damage can result in bone grinding directly on bone. Therefore, this causes pain and restricted movement. This can occur over many years, or it can be hastened by a joint injury or infection.
With Rheumatoid Arthritis, your body’s immune system attacks the line of the joint capsule, a tough membrane that encloses all the joint parts. This lining, also called the synovial membrane, becomes inflamed and swollen.
The process of this disease can eventually destroy cartilage and bone within the joint.
Symptoms of Arthritis
Symptoms of Arthritis associated with joint pain can include the following:
- joint redness
- swelling of the joint
- joint tenderness
- joint warmth
- locking of the joint
- loss of range of motion of the joint
Causes of Arthritis
Cartilage is firm but flexible connective tissue in your joints.
This cartilage protects your joints by absorbing the pressure and shock when you move and put stress on them. However, a reduction of this cartilage tissue can result in forms of Arthritis.
Risk Factors for Arthritis
Risk Factors for Arthritis include the following:
- Family history. Some types of Arthritis run in families. Therefore, you may be more likely to develop Arthritis if your parents or siblings have the disorder. Also, your genes can make your more susceptible to environmental factors that may trigger Arthritis.
- Age. The risk of many types of Arthritis increases as you age.
- Your sex. Women are more likely than men to develop Rheumatoid Arthritis. However, most individuals who have Gout, another type of Arthritis, are men.
- Previous joint injury. Individuals who have injured a joint are more likely to eventually develop Arthritis in that joint.
- Obesity. Carrying excess pounds puts stress on your joints, especially your knees, hips and spine. People who are obese have a higher risk of developing Arthritis.
Arthritis Treatment Options
There are numerous things you can do to preserve joint function, mobility and quality of life. A few common Arthritis treatment options include the following:
- Physical therapy
- Splints or other aids
- Weight loss
- In rare cases, surgery
These are just the basics of “What is Arthritis?” Contact us with the link below for more information or to schedule an appointment with us today!