Sunday, March 10, 2013

What is Arthritis?

The ABCs of arthritis

Understanding then basics…

Arthritis is not a single disease. The term “arthritis” covers more than hundred diseases and conditions affecting joints, the surrounding tissues, and other connective tissues.

Arthritis includes:
·         Osteoarthritis
·         Rheumatoid arthritis
·         Gout
·         Systemic lupus erythematosus
·         Juvenile (children) rheumatoid arthritis
·         Bursitis
·         Lyme arthritis,
·         Carpal tunnel disease and other disorders

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and the most frequent joint disorder especially in seniors. As the population ages, arthritis is expected to affect an estimated 67 million adults in the United States, alone, by 2030.

Definition of arthritis
Arthritis refers to any disorder that causes “inflammation” of the joints.

What causes arthritis?
Arthritis is a consequence of the deterioration of cartilage , which is basically the material that cushions the ends of the bones. Some scientists believe that when the joints are not able to interact in the right way to stress , the cartilage is affected. This leads to the development of arthritis.

Who is at risk?
Race: arthritis is less prevalent among African Americans and Hispanics than among non-Hispanic whites.

Gender: Arthritis prevalence is higher in women, 24.4%, than in men, 18.1%.
Family: Some very specific types of arthritis can result from hereditary factors. Some families may pass on the tendency for defective cartilage;
Obesity: Arthritis co-exists with other conditions such as overweight or obese individuals. Additionally, physical inactivity has been found to be higher in those with arthritis.
Diabetes: In 2005 and 2007 over half of those with diabetes had arthritis.
People at risk of injuries: Sports injuries, occupation-related injuries and repetitive use joint injuries can increase the risk of arthritis.

Signs & symptoms of arthritis - How would you know if you have arthritis?
While many people with arthritis do not experience any symptoms in the initial stages of the disease, following warning signs are mostly observed:
·         Pain in or around a joint
·         Stiffness or problems moving a joint
·         Swelling (sometimes) in a joint

Complications (What arthritis can lead to?)
Disability: Arthritis (being mainly a disease of bones and joints) is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
Immobility: Arthritis limits everyday activities such as walking and dressing. Of working age adults (18 to 64 years), 1 in 20 reports that arthritis affects their ability to work whereas over one-third of those with arthritis reports that their work is affected by their condition.
Infection: Persistent presence of inflammation for long term increases the risk of buildup of bacteria and bacteria, leading to infections.