Arthritus – Understanding this Disease

Janice CarsonJanice Carson

There are over 100 different types of arthritus. The area where two bones meet is known as a joint and arthritus is an inflammation of one or more joints in the body. Arthritus is caused when the cartilage in an individual’s body breaks down. Cartilage is what allows the joints to move about smoothly and freely and absorbs shocks when a joint experiences pressure due to walking or other everyday activities. When it cartilage begins to break down, the bones an individual’s body will probably gather which can lead stiffness, inflammation and pain. In extreme conditions, arthritus can be debilitating and leave an individual disabled.

ArthritusInflammation and the breakdown of cartilage can be caused by a number of different factors including a viral or bacterial infection, a broken bone, an autoimmune disease or just regular wear and tear on the joints. Although arthritus can affect an individual at any age, it is most common in older individuals. In most cases the inflammation that a person experiences due to any of the previously mentioned causes will go away once the issue has been treated. In cases where the inflammation does not go away, a person may experience chronic arthritis.

The most common type of arthritus is osteoarthritis although there are a number of other types of arthritus including gout, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, scleroderma, reactive arthritis and many more. Catching arthritus at its earliest stages means being aware of the most common symptoms associated with the disease. A person may experience swelling or pain of the joints, a reduced ability to move, warmth or redness around the joint and stiffness, especially in the morning. An individual who experiences any of these symptoms on a regular basis should discuss the possibility with their physician that they have arthritus.

In most cases, arthritus is treated by making changes to a person’s physical activity, the use of specially tailored exercises and medications designed to reduce inflammation and pain. Many individuals have also experienced relief from arthritus with non-drug related treatments including things like acupuncture. Individuals that are overweight have a higher risk of developing arthritus since they place more stress on their joints on a regular basis then individuals who are at a healthy weight. Exercise is designed to treat this disease involve increasing mobility, increasing muscle strength and may also be designed to help an individual lose weight. A physical examination, x-rays and blood tests may all be necessary in order for a physician to diagnose this disease.

 

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