Arthritis: Symptoms & Causes

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Arthritis is the leading cause of work disability in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC). It is a painful condition where one or more of the joints in the body get inflamed. However, this pain can be reduced. Let us look at what this health condition is all about.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is characterized by inflammation of the joints. According to the Arthritis Foundation, there are over 100 types and each one can be treated using different approaches. It can be a serious, long-term health condition, and can also affect people of all ages – not merely older persons, as is commonly misconceived.

Let us look at the most common kinds of this inflammatory condition.

  • Osteoarthritis (OA): It is the most common form and is caused by the degradation of cartilage in your joints. The purpose of cartilage in your joints it to buffer, or ‘cushion’, the meeting of your bones; when cartilage wears away, the resulting friction between your bones can be painful, and result in stiffness and inflammation.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): It is a chronic illness, characterized by inflammation of the joints. In some cases, RA is mild enough to be managed with minimal disruption to one’s life. However, 1 in 6 persons with RA is at risk of experiencing greater pain, and misshapen joints. Smoking greatly increases the risk of developing RA.

Other forms include metabolic arthritis, gout, fibromyalgia, lupus, etc. RA and lupus can also cause multiple organ failure.

Symptoms

Some of the common symptoms include persistent joint pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints, and sometimes, the inability to use a joint. Sometimes, for instance in the case of rheumatoid arthritis, the joints may become red, swollen, and there may be a feeling of feeling a sickness in the body. According to the Arthritis Research Institute of America, osteoarthritis often causes chronic pain and disability in elderly people.

Causes

Arthritis is a chronic condition which may be caused due to an injury, problems with immune system dysfunction, infections, or genetic endowment. RA is caused when the joints are affected by the body’s immune system. An insufficient diet plays a vital role in causing it, which clearly hampers the body’s dynamism and potential activity levels.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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