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What You Need to Know About Arthritis


One disease that afflicts millions is arthritis. In general terms, arthritis is a kind of inflammation that affects the joints. If you or your loved one suffers from this disease, itís good to be knowledgeable on the subject.

Arthritis is most common in individuals that are over 50 years of age. It is the number one source of physical mobility issues for people in that age group. It afflicts the elderly in all racial and ethnic groups. It isnít even limited to human beings. Animals routinely experience similar ailments. Evidence has even been uncovered by archaeologists that dinosaurs also suffered from arthritis like symptoms.

While there may be different causes and aggravating factors that can lead to the formation of the disease, the most common cause is the natural aging process. As a person ages, he or she puts repeated stress on the joints. This long period of wear and tear can eventually lead to the symptoms of arthritis.

Unfortunately for patients, the most common symptom of the disease is pain. This pain can range from minor to severe. Other common symptoms include tenderness, swelling, stiffness and clubbing of the joints.

These symptoms can have serious consequences beyond discomfort. For one, it may become very difficult for arthritis patients to move or even use their hands. The hands are often severely affected by arthritis due to the fact they are usually the most often used joints during a personís lifetime. Arthritis in the hands can also result in club shaped fingers.

The aging process that often results in arthritis is scientifically known as degeneration. It is a normal and expected part of aging especially if your family has a history of the disease.

Arthritis, however, can also develop due to other causes. Certain kinds of infections and diseases have been known to lead to arthritis. Gout is one common example. Gout can be caused by anything from diet to genetics. It results in tiny crystals made out of uric acid that build up near joints and cause excruciating pain. It is especially associated with arthritis of the toes.

There are also different varieties of arthritis. One of the most common forms is osteoarthritis. It is the most common form of arthritis in the United Sates. It is caused by the gradual degeneration of tissue in between the joints. This can cause severe pain and serious mobility issues.

One factor that can quicken and worsen the development of osteoarthritis is obesity due to the fact it places extra pressure on weight bearing joints in the ankles, knees and hips. Other things that may raise a personís chances of developing osteoarthritis include previous injuries, especially sports related ones, and genetic disposition to the disease.

Another very common kind of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis. Unlike osteoarthritis, it is caused by an autoimmune disorder as opposed to the degeneration of joint tissue. This disorder causes antibodies that normally protect the body from intrudes like bacteria to start attacking the patientís own healthy cells.

Rheumatoid arthritis can severely affect the joints in addition to the organs and muscles. One percent of the population suffers from this form of arthritis. Women are more likely to develop this disease than men.

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for arthritis. Despite this, there are treatments available that can help patients better manage the symptoms of the disease. This can include physical therapy. Certain kinds of exercises can target the joints to help strengthen and stretch them to prevent pain.

Medication is also often prescribed. This includes medication used to fight off inflammation, strengthen the joints and relieve pain and discomfort. Other treatments may include soaking the joints and massage. Lastly, surgery may sometimes be implemented to replace a problem joint with a synthetic one.





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