Arthritis is widely known as a condition characterised by inflammation of the joints. This can affect one or more joints. There are over 100 different types of arthritis each of which has their own causes and different treatment methods. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are two of the most common types.
Arthritis symptoms usually develop as time goes on, but they can also occur suddenly. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 52.5 million American adults suffer from some form of arthritis.
Though at the onset of arthritis, affected individual can experience mild discomfort but the symptoms aggravate as time goes on. Some visible effects include job restraint and it can also affect your daily life. Although your risk of arthritis may increase with age, it is not restricted to older adults. In addition, different types of arthritis have risk factors which are responsible for the emergence of this condition.
Having a better understanding of the causes and risk factors of arthritis has been found to be helpful in designing a preventive measure. This can help to control the symptoms and prevent it from getting worse or delaying the onset of the disease.
What are the Causes of Arthritis?
Although there are many types of arthritis, the two major categories are Osteoarthritis (OA) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Each of these types of arthritis has different causes.
Wear & Tear
Osteoarthritis usually occurs as a result of wear-and-tear to the joints. Excessive use of the joints can cause the breakdown of protective cartilage in your joints. This results in a situation where the bone rubs against other bones. This feeling can be very painful and can lead to reduced movement.
RA occurs when the immune system attacks itself. Most commonly when the body attacks the membrane that surrounds the joint parts. This can lead to inflammation or swollen joints, cartilage and bone destruction, and eventually pain. Affected individuals can also experience other symptoms of inflammation, such as fever and loss of appetite.
Most of the times, traumatic injury or joint infection can improve the development of arthritis. For example, reactive arthritis is a type of arthritis that can occur as a result of certain infections. This includes sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia, fungal infections, and food-borne diseases.
The breakdown of purine by the body results into the formation of uric acid. There are some individuals with high level of uric acid. At the moment when the body cannot eliminate it, the acid accumulates and leads to the formation of a crystal in the joints. This leads to serious and sudden pain in the joint, or a gout attack. Gout can occur and it can also disappear but when it is left unattended, it can become chronic.
Below are some other Skin and Organ Conditions that can cause arthritis.
Psoriasis: This is a skin condition which occurs as a result of too much turnover of the skin cell.
Sjogren’s: This is a condition that may cause a reduction in saliva and tears and systemic disease
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease or conditions including inflammation of the digestive tract, such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis
What are the Risk Factors of Arthritis?
Sometimes, the causes of arthritis are not known. However, there are some factors that have been found to increase the development of all types of arthritis. Some examples are listed below:
Age: Older age increases the risk of developing arthritis, such as gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis.
Family History: In the event that there is a history of arthritis in your family, it is possible that you develop it as well.
Gender: RA is common in women than men. On the other hand, gout is more prevalent among men.
Obesity: Excessive body weight can increase the risk of osteoarthritis this is due to too much pressure exerted on the joints.
- History of Previous Injuries: Individuals who are injured from activities such as sports, car accident or other event are more likely to later suffer from arthritis.
In the event that you do not experience the symptoms, it is imperative that you contact your doctor and talk about the possible risk of arthritis. They can help find ways to prevent or delay arthritis.
Your doctor may prescribe medication, recommend surgery, and encourage you to take physical therapy. In addition, there are some things you can do at home which can ease arthritis examples include taking a warm shower, engaging in gentle stress exercise and applying an ice pack on the sore area.