What Is Arthritis?
Millions of people throughout the world suffer from this painful and potential immobilizing disease – Arthritis. Essentially it is a swelling of the joints, either in the arms or the legs usually.
It can be brought on by cold, damp weather or humid weather. It tends to effect people over 40 years of age but youth can be effected too. But what causes it? Lets explore the various views on how it comes about.
What is Arthritis?
Initially arthritis was thought to be a bone disease that caused a breakdown in cartilage. Now however many medical experts believe it may be more due to a virus which in turn causes the inflammation and cartilage breakdown.
Perhaps one of the reasons that doctors and medical scientists have found it so hard to determine exactly what arthritis is and therefore what causes it is its sheer general nature.
Types of Arthritis
Arthritis covers a wide range of conditions including the most commonly known rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis Vs Rheumatoid Arthritis
Whereas osteoarthritis is caused by bone brittleness leading to knobbly growths of bone, rheumatoid arthritis is caused by the body immune system mistakenly attacking the joints causing inflammation! This causes the swelling typical of rheumatoid arthritis.
While we may have a simple explanation of the two main types of arthritis what exactly pre-disposes someone to either kind of arthritis?
Factors That Influence Risk Of Arthritis
Here are few potential trends or factors than can increase the risk of some kind of arthritis:
#1. Being Overweight
Like many health conditions such as diabetes 2, heart disease and risk of stroke being overweight can lead to increased chance of arthritis.
Being over the age of 50 will definitely increase the incidence of arthritis although for some reason (perhaps not enough calcium from milk) more and more young people are getting premature arthritis. Some 12,000 kids in the United Kingdom have some form of arthritis.
Arthritis appears to run in families. Scientists have discovered genetic markers that demonstrate this through successive generations in a family.
Bacteria, fungal or virus infection may trigger the onset of arthritis. Scientific research is in the relatively early stages but this theory for arthritis has been around for a number of years. Many common and serious body ailments start from infections so it makes sense that arthritis could be the same.
Strong evidence from research studies indicate that smoking worsens existing rheumatoid arthritis and can bring it on too. Once again the presence of the gene marker mentioned above raises the probability of arthritis occurring in the person even higher.
In addition, smoking is not good for the management or any serious disease of which rheumatoid arthritis is one.
#6. Sports Injuries
Whilst many sports actually strengthen the bones, shoulder dislocations and knee injuries can cause the onset of arthritis. For this reason it is essentially that both injuries be taken very seriously.
Now we have looked at what can cause arthritis and what can pre-dispose us to arthritis, how can we manage it if we already have it.
Well regular low impact exercises such as bicycling, swimming, or walking are perfect for someone with arthritis trying to manage it or keep it from progressing. When it comes to prevention, a healthy diet and a good intake of water to keep joints well lubricated, keep those essential joints in working order.
After all, your knees and arms do a lot for you. Look after them now and they will be able to do a lot more for you well into the future!
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