Research shows that almost 43.2% of adults experience joint pain, swelling and stiffness, limiting their daily activities. What’s causing this chronic illness?
Medical experts term it arthritis. It refers to a joint inflammation affecting joints, including the tissues surrounding those joints and other connective tissues in the body.
People suffering with this agonizing disease feel crippled and helpless when it comes to carrying out their daily activities, not to forget the excruciating pain that comes along with it. Morning stiffness, swelling of the joints, inability to move without assistance are some of the many symptoms of arthritis.
What’s surprising is that there are more than 100 different forms of arthritis, the most common being Osteoarthritis, a bone condition that makes bones thinner and more fragile due to reduced bone density. This form of arthritis is found to be more prevalent among older women than in men.
However, patients experience various other forms of arthritis as well such as Rheumatoid arthritis, Inflammatory, Soft tissue musculoskeletal pain, Psoriatic arthritis, Septic and Metabolic arthritis.
What causes Arthritis?
Arthritis can start suddenly without any obvious cause, and at any age. A change in lifestyle, food habits, extreme weather conditions, medical history or a combination of all these can be responsible for bringing this on.
Certain others factors such as a previous joint injury, abnormal metabolism or increased BMI, autoimmune diseases can also be the reason you are at a higher risk of developing this condition.
Types of Arthritis and their Symptoms
People experience different symptoms for different forms of arthritis.
The first most common forms of arthritis is Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is caused by the normal wear and tear as a person ages. This natural breakdown of the cartilage tissue can be exacerbated by an infection or any injury to the joints.
Signs and Symptoms: Joint pain and progressive stiffness that develops gradually over time
How to prevent this?
Maintain a healthy weight: Cut down the fatty foods and step up on the gym action. The Examination Survey (NHANES), a program of studies, showed that obese women were nearly four times as likely as non-obese women to have osteoarthritis. The risk for obese men was nearly five times greater than for non-obese men.
Treat an injury then and there: If you have or had a joint injury, it’s important to get prompt medical treatment and take steps to avoid further damage. A long-term study of 1,321 graduates of Johns Hopkins Medical School found that people who injured their knee as an adult had a five times greater risk of osteoarthritis in the joint.
Rheumatoid arthritis is the second common form of arthritis which is caused when your body’s immune system attacks the tissues of the body. These attacks affect the synovium, a secreted fluid that nourishes the cartilage and lubricates the joints.
Although the exact cause of such attacks are yet to be discovered, scientists have observed that genetic factors, lack of physical exercise and obesity may influence the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis tenfold.
Sign and Symptoms: Painful swelling, inflammation, and stiffness in the fingers, arms, legs, and wrists occurring in the joints, especially upon awakening
Stop being a couch potato: When you have joint pain and fatigue, it’s hard to get up and get moving. But regular exercise is key for your health. Do gentle flexibility exercises, like yoga and tai chi.
As absurd as it sounds, it is true that depression is a red flag that indicates that you might be experiencing RA. RA can be painful and challenging. It’s normal to feel sad about that at times. But if you start to feel depressed, for instance, your blue feelings don’t lift, and you don’t enjoy the things you used to like, it’s time you visit a rheumatologist.
With early diagnosis and treatment, doctors can help slow down or prevent damage that arthritis causes to joints. The longer the disease persists, the more the joints get damaged; therefore it is vital to receive treatment at the earliest. Also, maintaining a balanced weight can reduce the risks for developing osteoarthritis in the knees, and possibly in the hips and hands, especially for women.