Arthritis is a word use to describe stiffness, swelling and pain of the joint. It is not a single condition but comprises of so many different types and related conditions.  It affects people of all ages, tribes, races and genders. Arthritis is no respecter of persons. It affects more women than men. It is a major cause of disability in the United States. Some types of arthritis affects older people more than younger people.

Some types of arthritis can affect organs of the body such as the eyes or skin or heart.

Types of Arthritis

There are several types of arthritis. More than over 100 types of arthritis exists but the most common ones include:

  • Juvenile idiopathic arthritis: This is the most common type of arthritis that affects children. It can cause permanent damage in children and painfully it has no cure yet.
  • Psoriatic arthritis: This type of arthritis can occur in people who have psoriasis. It is an auto-immune condition. The immune system can start misbehaving and cause painful swelling and stiffness around joints. A reddish scaly rash can occur on the skin causing psoriasis. This psoriasis can then lead to psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis can affect people of all ages but adults have the greater chances of developing it than younger people.
  • Osteoarthritis: This is the most common type of arthritis. It is more common in older people. It can affect almost any joint in the body but mainly affects the hands, knees, spine and hips. It was once called wear-and-tear arthritis because of how it wears out the cartilage that serves as a protective layer on the ends of bones. After much research osteoarthritis is no longer consider as only disease of the cartilage but the disease of the whole joint. It can make the bones to become weaker, destroys the tissues that hold joints together and cause inflammation that will damage the joint linings.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: This is a type of arthritis that occurs where the immune system begins to misbehave and then begins to attack healthy joints. The immune system is supposed to protect the body from diseases as the body defense but when they mistakenly begins to attack healthy tissues of the body such as the joints as in the case of autoimmune condition  rheumatoid arthritis can be formed. Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis.
  • Gout or metabolic arthritis: This is a type o f arthritis caused by the accumulation of uric acid. Uric acid is formed when the body breaks down chemicals substances called purines which are found in body cells and in some foods.

Uric acids normally go to the kidney through the blood so as to be passed out in urine. When a person’s body produces high level of uric acid and the body does not remove them quickly, they will build up and accumulate in the joints. They may not cause any problem until they come in contact with the soft part of the joint which will result in pain and inflammation of the       joint.

Excessive uric acids can be caused by being overweight or eating certain types of food or taking alcoholic drinks. It can also be genetic. When a joint is affected by gout it will become red and hot and the skin around that area will look shiny and begin to peel off.

 Gout usually affects the big toe or hind limb.

  •  Infective arthritis: This is a type of arthritis that is caused by an infection. When this infection comes in contact with a joint infective arthritis will occur. A bacterium virus or fungus can enter a joint and cause inflammation. Infective arthritis can be treated by a doctor using antibiotics or other medications for treating infections.

Symptoms of Arthritis

The symptoms of arthritis include:

  • Joint pain
  • Inflammation of the joint
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Tenderness
  • Warmth

The symptoms of arthritis can be mild or severe.

Causes of arthritis

Arthritis is caused by different things according to the type of arthritis. However some arthritis has no known cause. The following can cause of arthritis

  • Autoimmune disorders which can rheumatoid arthritis
  • Infection such as Bacteria, viruses or fungi causing infective arthritis
  • Uric acid accumulating in the joint causing gout.
  •  Stress
  • Injuries
  • Age
  • Obesity
  • Genes or family history
  • Weakness of the muscle
  • Joint over use causing wear and tear of a joint.

Risk factors of arthritis

The following factors increase the risk of developing arthritis:

  • Age: The risk of developing arthritis becomes higher as a person gets older
  • Gender: Most types of Arthritis affects women more than men.
  • Weight: obesity increases the chances of a person developing obesity because the excess weight puts extra strain on the joint which can lead to arthritis
  • Lifestyle: People that smoke  and those who rarely exercise have higher chances of developing arthritis

Diagnosis of arthritis

Arthritis can be diagnosed using the following methods such as:

  • Physical examination: The doctor will examine the joints for signs of swelling and inflammation. The doctor can also check the range of motion of the person.
  • Imaging scans: Doctors usually use imaging scans such as X-rays or MRI or CT scans to view the bones and cartilage. This will help them differentiate between your conditions from other bone conditions.
  • Blood tests: Blood tests can be used to diagnose arthritis.

Treatment of arthritis

 The treatment of arthritis depends on the type of arthritis the person is experiencing. In general the treatment of arthritis include

  • Medications such as Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSIADs) like ibuprofen, analgesics, steroids, immune suppressants.
  • Physical therapy such as exercising which can help to strengthen the muscles around a joint.
  • Surgery can be used to replace damaged joints.

Prevention of arthritis             

There are life changes that can be used to prevent the development of arthritis. This includes:

  • Losing excess weight
  • Engaging in  regular exercise like walking
  • Eating good food
  • Quitting smoking and excessive intake of alcohol.

By Ekene Arodiogbu

Ekene Arodiogbu is the CEO of Excedel World. He loves to listen to good music and watch movies in his spare time.

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