Arthritis

Overview

The word arthritis conjures up images of elderly people in pain for many who hear it. However, arthritis is not simply a disease brought on by aging. It can be brought on by a broad range of original causes. This ailment is a branching umbrella term used to explain a wide variety of medical ills that are found when inflammation exists around the joints of the body.

The most common are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. There are over 100 known current conditions associated with this ailment.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Arthritis is caused by several different factors. The most common issues suffered by all patients are joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation. Other symptoms that may occur with this degenerative disorder are swelling and reduced range of motion. Redness may occur as well depending upon the type of arthritic condition that the patient has developed.

Typically this disease is diagnosed due to excessive pain in a joint area. Sometimes the joint may have been damaged earlier in life and a few years later it can show up as an arthritic condition. Examples of such an occurrence include a badly twisted ankle that develops arthritis later and receiving a hand injury that later causes one or more fingers to have physical difficulty opening without applied external force. While the surrounding tissues may not be negatively affected the bone and cartilage will have received damage that does not heal readily, if at all, on its own.

Causes

This disease has many causes and there are many types. The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis. This version of the ailment occurs due to normal wear and tear on the joints of the body. The cartilage is worn down and the bones begin to grind against each other. Sometimes injuries such as a broken hand can cause this situation to develop. When people think of arthritis this is usually the first type they call to mind due to its prevalence among the elderly.

There are other types of arthritis as well, however. The second most common type is known as rheumatoid arthritis. This version occurs when the body has an autoimmune disorder that causes an immune response that attacks the synovial membrane, the tough joint capsule surrounding joints. This version is eventually capable of damaging the joint itself by destroying the membrane and surrounding bone.

Less common origin points for this ailment include the build-up of uric crystals and certain diseases such as lupus or psoriasis. Certain infections can cause this issue to occur as well. The well-known term “gout” is used to describe a type of arthritis that causes the buildup of fluid and improperly metabolized uric crystals around joints in the extremities. This disease is primarily prevalent in the smaller bones of the feet.  Continue reading for Treatment information . . .

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