What Exactly Is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a disease that results in the inflammation of joints, which makes it challenging to lead a healthy and fulfilling life. There are almost 100 types of arthritis, the most common ones being rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA). Many factors can cause arthritis, and not one definite reason is common in all types of arthritis. However, some elements and causes have proved to be instrumental in the progression of arthritis.
Undoubtedly, prevention is better than cure, and that is why it’s essential to know about these factors. Here are the nine causes of this common disease that can deter your day-to-day life in old age:
9 Causes Of Arthritis
Excess Uric Acid:
When it comes to arthritis like gout, an excess of uric acid is one of the main causes of it. Dehydration and metabolism disorders result in more than uric acid in the body. So, logically patients suffering from chronic renal failure or disorders that make it difficult for uric acid to be flushed out of the body are more susceptible to gout.
In many types of arthritis and particularly osteoarthritis, if someone in your family tree had it in the past, it is common that you may also become a victim of this disease. The genes running in your blood can be a reason for arthritis.
As you grow old, bones and joints continuously go through wear and tear. Especially injuries from falls affecting the joints increase the risk of arthritis after you cross 60. That is the reason why sportspersons are vulnerable to arthritis in their later years, as their joints have been used a lot as compared to normal people.
Surprised? That is why it is better to manage your weight and stay active, as many illnesses spring up from being overweight. The excess of body weight puts immense stress on knee joints, hips, and even spine. Arthritis is common within people who are overweight or obese.
Immune System Dysfunction:
In the case of RA, the immune system attacks a soft tissue named synovium, which creates a fluid for the cartilage enabling smooth functioning of joints. When the joints do not function as smoothly, bones grind against each other and cause immense pain.
Sometimes, people involved in strenuous physical activity in their line of work results in greater wear and tear around joints. Mainly, sportspersons using their knees day in and day out, construction workers who have to pull heavy weights over and over again, or musicians who strain their hands repeatedly are at a higher risk.
In some cases, bacterial infection can cause a condition like septic arthritis. Mostly, the bacteria named Staphylococcus aureus can enter the joint space due to a surgery near the joint, puncture wound or even a skin infection.
Just as too much strenuous physical activity can be problematic, absolutely no activity can also cause stiffness in joints over time and result in weakened muscles. This, in return, can increase the risk of osteoarthritis.
There has been a higher risk of rheumatoid arthritis among chain smokers. In comparison, the reason behind the link is yet not clear, as per researchers smoking results in a weaker body system that makes it easier for a smoker to contract this disease.
9 Symptoms Of Arthritis:
It is essential to recognize the symptoms of arthritis during the early onset of the disease so that timely treatment can be given. The faster you take treatment, the higher the possibility of living a pain-free life.
One of the clearest indicators of arthritis is when you cannot move your joints freely, i.e., your movement is restricted. Although the flexibility of joints and muscles decreases naturally with old age, one should take note if it seems out of the blue.
Intense joint pain is one of the most common symptoms of arthritis, and it is better to consult a doctor at once in case of immense joint pain.
Swelling Around Joint:
Mostly a swelling occurs in case of a joint injury. So, if the swelling around a joint is not due to an injury, it is highly likely that it can be due to arthritis. In this case, imaging tests like X-ray or CT can determine the cause.
It is common for people suffering from arthritis to go through immense pain and stiffness in joints early in the morning until an hour or so. So, if the morning is painful, it is time to visit a general physician.
Increased Pain After Inactivity:
If joint pain intensifies after inactivity and decreases after some physical activity, it is a symptom of arthritis.
The Deformed Appearance Of Joints:
Usually, due to extreme wear and tear of joints, fingers can appear crooked or knees may have a bow-legged appearance.
Lumps or unevenness around the joints might be seen, especially on finger joints and hands.
If the joints are tender to touch, and pressing around the joint makes it more painful, it might be arthritis.
If you feel tired or exhausted after doing even the minute of tasks, it might be a concern enough to consult your doctor. Arthritis causes the release of chemicals known as cytokines, which can result in extreme fatigue.
If you happen to notice any of these signs, it is wiser to get a diagnosis done. The doctor can determine the kind of arthritis you have, through blood tests such as anti-CCP (anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide), RF (rheumatoid factor), and ANA (antinuclear antibody). Remember that the main aspect that lowers the quality of life in people with arthritis is the chronic pain associated with it. Several treatments can help soothe the pain. Thus, although arthritis cannot be cured, treatment is still beneficial when it comes to intense pain and further deterioration of joints.