It is known that there are 100+ different categories of diseases and medical conditions which have been classified as arthritic.
Osteoarthritis is the main one, affecting nearly 28 million people in the USA alone. Not far behind are rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and gout. This is a natural reaction to use or injury, many times resulting in pain, stiffness and swelling. This can restrict movement in the affected joint. In some cases, the inflammation can cause degeneration and deformity in the particular joint. Where 2 or more bones come together in a joint, they are covered with a spongy material called cartilage. This is what would normally allow the joints to move without pain. Bone friction is reduced by the presence of a fluid known as ‘synovial fluid’.
Arthritis is not restricted to just the joints. It can affect other parts of the body too, e.g the skin, eyes and internal organs.
The specific causes of many different kinds of arthritis may not be known, but research has revealed a number of risk factors. Risk factors are the behaviors or characteristics of a person that may increase their chances of developing the disease. In the case of arthritis, the risk factors include obesity (which adds extra stress to the joints), a persons age, gender (women are more at risk than men), and types of employment especially where heavy lifting or repetitive movement are concerned.
Around 70 million Americans are affected by arthritis. That’s about 1 in 3 people. It is a huge reason for loss of work and disability. It mostly affects the older generation, but younger folk are often affected too. Arthritis is diagnosed by medical evaluation and history, examination, blood tests and x-ray studies.
The intention of treatment is to present pain relief, improved joint mobility, and increased strain around the joints. Doctors may advocate medication, hot or cols compresses, exercise, joint protection or surgery. Early diagnosis gives the best opportunity to manage the condition well,and pain and disability is minimized. Arthritis cannot be prevented, but there are steps to take which will help the reduction of risk or permanent joint damage. Looking after your weight, exercise, and a healthy diet will aid in prevention. If your job entails heavy lifting or repetitive movement, there are protection means available at pharmacies and sports outlets. You can help yourself by taking these steps to prevent the onset of arthritis.