What is Arthritis?
Arthritis describes joint pain, generally caused by inflammation or joint disease. In fact, there are more than 50 types of arthritis and arthritis-related conditions. Joint pain and joint disease affects all races, genders, and ages and is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. Severe arthritis can cause intense pain and make it difficult to walk, climb stairs, and carry out everyday activities. Joint disease can result in permanent joint damage, which is commonly only visible by X-ray; however, sometimes it can cause knobby finger joints. Some types of arthritis can also affect the heart, lungs, kidneys and other organs.Common Symptoms of Arthritis
Arthritis symptoms range from mild, moderate, to severe and may come and go. They may last for some years but worsen or progress over time and tend to be worse in the morning. Some common arthritis symptoms include:
Common Causes of Arthritis
- Joint pain
- Limited range of motion
- Redness of the skin surrounding the joint
Obesity and being overweight is a common cause of osteoarthritis (OA), the most common type of joint disease. Osteoarthritis is when the cartilage found at the end of the joints and bones breaks down. The more weight that is put on the joints, the more stressed it becomes, and the more likely it will become worn or damaged. Normal wear and tear is also an underlying cause of osteoarthritis. An injury or infection can speed the natural breakdown of cartilage and increase your risk of developing the disease. Family history can play a role in the development of arthritis.
Another common cause of arthritis is when the immune system
attacks the tissues of the body, also known as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This form of arthritis attacks the soft tissue in the joints that produces the fluid that lubricates and nourishes the joints. RA can destroy the joint and eventually damage the bone and cartilage inside the joint. Genes and environmental factors, such as smoking, can increase your risk of developing RA. High levels of uric acid, or gout, can also cause arthritis. When the body produces too much uric acid or is unable to remove it fast enough, it can build up in the blood and cause painful joint swelling and inflammation. Fibromyalgia
has also been known to cause joint pain and swelling.