Friday, December 15

What Are The Causes of Arthritis?

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        Arthritis is basically an inflammatory disease of the joints. It also affects the tissues surrounding the joints. Arthritis is actually a name given to a collection of diseases. Arthritis is always accompanied by pain which may be mild in the beginning and more of an inconvenience. But as the disease progresses, there may be severe pain. Every step you take may be excruciatingly painful. You find it difficult to climb the stairs, bend or sit. The joints also become tender. Sometimes, there may be mild swelling. Occasionally, the swelling may be severe. Under these circumstances, people do not want to walk at all. Is this a solution?

Sedentary style is responsible

        One of the major reasons for the onset of the arthritic problem is ageing. As we all know, it is an irreversible process. However, we can take some sensible steps to counter its rapid progression. As we age, the joints gradually lose their lubricating fluids. The joints become stiff and inflamed. Ageing is not the only factor. Sedentary modern lifestyle also greatly contributes to the onset of arthritis. Inactivity breeds several diseases as by products. Obesity and the resultant insulin sensitive diabetes are the best examples. Inactivity leads to the presence of joints which become stiff because of lack of use. Inactivity leads to obesity which puts a lot of stress on the joints which have to bear the entire body weight. The development of arthritis is one more reason why you should keep your weight under check.

Varieties of arthritis

       While there are several forms of arthritis, some forms are more common. Rheumatoid arthritis is a familiar form of arthritis. Symptoms present in rheumatoid arthritis are

Chronic inflammation of the joints

Swelling

Stiffness

Joint deformity

Lack of mobility

Another common form of arthritis isosteoarthritis. This presents features like

Decreased bone mass

Brittle bones

Frequent fractures

Loss of height

Gouty arthritis is another form. This form of arthritis is mainly due to the deposition of uric acid crystals in the joints. Normally, uric acid is excreted by the kidneys. But when the blood level of uric acid goes up, it tends to come out of the solution and get precipitated in the joints. As a result of this, joint structures get eroded and arthritis ensues. Gouty arthritis can also result from inherited disorders like Von Gierke’s disease where the blood level of uric acid is elevated.

Treatment

In the early stages, anti inflammatory agents are useful and this is usually accompanied by physiotherapy. As the situation worsens, you have to go in for injections using cartilage protective agents as well as steroids. At its worse, you may have to go in for arthroscopy, a procedure involving joint replacement. But the best form of treatment, of course, is mobility. As long as you are mobile, you can keep the arthritic progression under check.

Risk factors

Sedentary lifestyle

Obesity

Postmenopausal women

Hypothyroidism

Hypercholesterolemia

Diabetes mellitus

Inherited conditions involving hyperuricemia

Smoking

Alcoholism

Excessive use of steroids

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