Understanding Arthritis: Everything You Need to Know

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Arthritis affects millions of people worldwide, causing them immense pain and discomfort. It’s estimated that about 58 million Americans have it. So why does arthritis occur in the first place? And what can you do to handle it? Here’s what you need to know about arthritis and how to deal with it in the future.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a term used to describe a broad range of joint diseases that cause inflammation, swelling, and stiffness. It can affect any joint in the body but is most commonly found in the hands, wrists, knees, hips, and spine.

While there are many forms of arthritis, they all share one common factor—inflammation. When the inflammatory response is triggered in a joint, it can damage its lining (synovium), leading to painful symptoms such as stiffness and swelling.

Common Types of Arthritis

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is considered to be the most common type of arthritis in the world. OA occurs due to wear and tear on joints due to age or injury. The gradual breakdown of cartilage leads to bone rubbing against bone which can cause pain when moving or putting weight on the joint. OA is more common among older adults but can also occur in younger people due to an injury or other medical condition such as obesity or diabetes.

Rheumatoid

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is another form of arthritis caused by an autoimmune disorder where the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue in the joints leading to inflammation and swelling. Other types include psoriatic arthritis (PsA), gouty arthritis (GA), and infectious arthritis (IA).

Back pain and arthritis in aging man

Risk Factors

Arthritis doesn’t happen to anybody. Here are the most common risk factors for the disease:

Age

One of the most common risk factors for developing arthritis is age. As people age, their bodies start to break down and become less able to fight off infection or repair damaged tissue. This means that older individuals are at a higher risk of developing arthritis than younger people. Additionally, certain types of arthritis are more common in elderly populations than in younger folks.

Genetics

Another major factor that can increase your risk of developing arthritis is genetics. If someone in your family has had arthritis, you may be more likely to create it. In addition, research has shown that specific genetic markers can indicate an increased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis later on in life.

Obesity

Being overweight or obese is another significant risk factor for developing arthritis, especially osteoarthritis. When carrying extra weight, your joints must work harder to support it, which can lead to wear and tear over time and increase inflammation in the joints. Losing weight can help reduce your risk of developing this type of arthritis by taking some of the strain off your joints. Additionally, maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise can help keep your bones and joints strong and reduce inflammation overall.

Ankle Injury

Physical injuries are a considerable risk factor for people with arthritis, especially injuries that happen to the ankle. The ankle is an essential joint in the body and is often put under a lot of strain, especially in sports or high-impact activities.

Because of this, a single injury can lead to damage in the veins within the area. For example, if you’ve had an ankle injury, you may be at a higher risk for developing arthritis later on. That’s why it’s essential to get an affordable ankle injury treatment the moment you notice any pain in the area. These treatments usually utilize ice and compression, strengthening exercises, or surgery to keep the ankle healthy and protected.

Pain Management

Pain and inflammation are the two most common symptoms of arthritis, and managing them is crucial for preventing joint damage. There are many different ways to manage pain from arthritis, including medications like NSAIDs and anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes like diet and exercise. Specific diets you can try include eating more foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, avoiding processed and sugary foods, and drinking plenty of water. You can also do many exercises to strengthen your joints, such as swimming, cycling, or weight lifting.

No matter what type of arthritis you have or how old you are, there’s always something that can be done for this disease.

Arthritis affects millions of people worldwide, and it’s essential to understand its causes so that you can properly manage your condition if you are affected by it. There are many different types of arthritis, and although there is no cure for this disease, there are lifestyle modifications you can make along with medications that may help reduce your symptoms so that you can live a better life despite your condition.

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