What is arthritis?
In simple words, arthritis can be described as a disease that causes inflammation of one or more joints.
It is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells, giving rise to pain, stiffness, and tenderness in the joints.
Some studies suggest that the prevalence of arthritis in India is more than several chronic conditions such as diabetes, AIDS, and cancer.
Studies suggest that arthritis is an incurable disease. However, the condition is manageable if you are aware of the types, symptoms, risk factors, and causes of arthritis.
Having this knowledge can enable you to take timely preventive measures to help control the aggravation of the condition and live a healthy life.
Types of arthritis
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are more than 100 types of arthritis. Continue reading to learn about the five most common types:
- Osteoarthritis: It is one of the most common types of arthritis, also known as wear-and-tear arthritis. The condition usually arises as a result of ageing but can also occur due to joint injuries or being overweight.
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the organs, mainly the joints. RA causes inflammation and severe damage to the joints.
- Psoriatic arthritis: Psoriatic arthritis affects a small number of psoriasis patients, causing joint discomforts such as pain, stiffness, and swelling. Psoriasis causes skin inflammation, giving rise to patchy, red, and white areas on the skin around the elbows, knees, scalp, navel, and genitals.
- Gout: It is a form of arthritis that occurs due to excessive uric acid buildup in the joints, mainly affecting the big toe and other parts of the foot. Gout can give rise to redness, severe pain, and swelling of the joints.
- Ankylosing spondylitis (AS): AS impacts the spine and bigger joints such as the pelvis by giving rise to inflammation. The condition reduces joint flexibility, causing hunched-forward posture.
Common arthritis symptoms
When we talk about arthritis symptoms, it is essential to understand that the symptoms can differ depending on the type of arthritis.
Here are a few common arthritis symptoms that you should look out for:
- Mild to severe pain that comes & goes
- Redness of the inflamed area
- Reduced range of motion
Causes & risk factors of arthritis:
The following are some of the common factors that can increase the risk of arthritis:
- Prolonged pressure on joints
- An autoimmune condition
- Abnormal metabolism
- Lack of physical activity
- A family history of arthritis
- Weak muscles
- Lifestyle choices such as smoking & alcohol consumption
- Not getting enough nutrients
- Joint injuries
- Aged above 50
- OA is common among women & gout in men
Measures to manage arthritis
Some measures that can help control the aggravation and even minimize the risk of developing the condition include:
- Avoiding smoking & alcohol consumption
- Exercising regularly & maintaining a healthy weight
- Getting sufficient sleep
- Massaging the joints
- Not indulging in activities that exert pressure on the joints
- Taking medicines as prescribed
- Consulting a doctor upon experiencing any change in the symptoms
- Taking steps to minimize the risk of joint injuries
- Getting sufficient nutrients
Arthritis is a manageable chronic condition that affects your overall well-being but has no cure.
This article provides essential information about types, symptoms, causes and risk factors, and preventive measures that can help manage arthritis, allowing you to live a healthy life.
Furthermore, you should also frequently opt for arthritis screening. This health check can provide you with a comprehensive insight into your health, allowing you to take necessary precautions to stay at the top of your health.