Arthritis is a very common disease found in almost all age groups and sexes. It is generally understood as different types of joint pains or joint disease. Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the present world. More than 20 million individuals in this world suffer from Arthritis and make it very difficult for individuals to be physically active. The term Arthritis literally refers to the inflammation of joints.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a joint disorder featuring in the joint stiffness, joint damage or inflammation of one or more joints with the general symptoms of swelling, pain and burning sensation. There are different types of arthritis, around 200 conditions affect joints, the tissues surrounding the joint, and other connective tissue. It is a rheumatic condition and another name for arthritis is wear and tear.
Types of Arthritis
There are more than 100 types of identified arthritis. Among these, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout are the most common types of arthritis.
Following are the major types of arthritis:
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, caused by the wear-and-tear or damages to the joint’s cartilage surrounding the bone, which results in the reduced friction among the bones. It causes severe pain and a burning sensation at the joints. It can be prevented by taking a balanced diet, maintaining the healthy weight, staying active and by avoiding injuries and repetitive actions. This type of arthritis is seen in older women and other individuals with prior joint trauma, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle.
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is the long-lasting autoimmune disorder which affects the chronic inflammation of joints and other body parts. It is caused when the immune system of individuals attacks their own cartilage and joint lining capsule – a tough membrane that encloses all the joint parts. Rheumatoid arthritis results in the erosion of two opposing bones usually affect the joints of wrists, knees and elbows and are more often seen in the teenagers or people aged 20 and above.
- Infectious arthritis
Infectious arthritis is another severe form of arthritis, caused by microbial infections, hence named as Infectious arthritis. The condition is caused by the invading of pathogens into the joints. This may lead to inflammation, swelling, and pain. The microbes that infect the joints are salmonella, shigella, Chlamydia, and gonorrhoea. Suitable treatment using antibiotics can cure the joint infection in many cases, but in rare cases, it may become critical to treat this Infectious arthritis.
Symptoms of Arthritis
Pain and burning sensation are common symptoms observed in all types of arthritis. Other symptoms include:
- Poor sleep
- Deformity of joints
- Malaise and fatigue
- Tenderness of joints
- Muscle aches and pains
- Difficult in moving the joint
- Pain or ache around the joints
- Swelling and stiffness of joints
- Redness and warmth of the joints
In few cases, arthritis can also affect different types of joints and other organs in the body, leading to a variety of symptoms, including fever, fatigue, weight loss, swelling of glands, loss of flexibility, decreased aerobic fitness, weakness of the muscles, etc.
Causes of Arthritis
There are many factors behind the cause of arthritis and it depends on the type of arthritis. Women are more likely to experience osteoarthritis than men. Anything that damages cartilage results in Arthritis.
Few causes include:
- Old age
- Poor nutrition
- Improper Diet
- Immune attacks
- Family hereditary
- General wear and tear
- Metabolic abnormalities
- Infection attacks to the joints.
Treatment of Arthritis
There is no proper or complete cure for this disorder. But there are several other treatments available for treating the inflammation of joints and it varies with the different types of arthritis. Overall, the goal of treatment is to reduce pain and prevent further joint damage. The most commonly used treatments are:
- Physical Therapy
- Joint Replacement Surgery
- Massaging and Acupressure
- Non-pharmacologic therapies
Prevention of Arthritis
There are many things that can be done to prevent arthritis. By adopting and following healthy habits, there are chances of preventing these painful diseases. Some healthy habits are:
- Regular physical activities like walking, running, swimming etc.
- Having a well – balanced diet food
- Including foods rich in vitamin D.
- Maintaining a healthy body weight.
- Avoid injuries and repetitive joint actions.
- Do regular exercise that has an impact on the joints.
Few important Questions on Arthritis
- Is it possible to prevent arthritis?
Yes. Arthritis can be prevented by following the preventive and safety measures along with the nutritious food. As we all know, there is no proper and permanent cure for arthritis. Therefore it is better to prevent arthritis before developing it. The preventive steps include:
- Minimize the stress on the joints.
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Avoid accidents and other injuries to joints
- Regular physical activities to increase bone density
- Intake of more vitamin D to maintain the bone health
- What are the best foods for Arthritis?
There is no strict diet to cure arthritis. There are certain food products, which have a number of health benefits and can also reduce inflammation in the body. These foods include fish, carrot, oranges, berries, grapes, green leafy vegetables, olives, and other food products rich in omega 3 fatty acids, calcium and vitamin C.
- How does a doctor diagnose Arthritis?
There are three different types of tests used to diagnose arthritis inpatients. Based on the symptoms the diagnose differs.
- Physical examinations- It is conducted to check the visible signs, stiffness and swelling of joints.
- Imaging Tests- It includes X-ray, ultrasound and MRI for visualizing the joints.
- Blood tests- Blood samples are collected to test the presence of pathogens, levels of inflammations, and for the presence of antibodies.
- Joint fluid analysis – In this procedure, fluid from the joints are drawn to analysis the cause for the inflammations in the joints.
- What is the best treatment for Arthritis?
Apart from the paracetamol, sprays and other medicines, Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are also prescribed by the doctors which help in reducing both the pain and the inflammation.
- What are the different types of Arthritis?
There are more than 100 different types of Arthritis. The most common types are-
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Infectious arthritis
This was a brief introduction to the Arthritis, its types, symptoms, causes, and treatments. Stay tuned with BYJU’S to know more in detail about the Arthritis, and other related topics @ BYJU’S Biology.