Arthritis – Types, signs and risk factors
Arthritis is a medical condition that is marked by inflammation in the joints. It can affect a single joint or several joints in the body. There are different types of arthritis. Each one can be traced to a different cause, with various methods to treat them.
Primarily, there are two main kinds of arthritis – rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. These can be broken down into several categories.
This is the most commonly diagnosed form of arthritis. When a person is suffering from osteoarthritis, the cartilage of the joints gets severely damaged. The cartilage is the tough, coarse protective coating found at the end points where the bones come together to form a joint. Cartilage acts as a cushion to this part of the bones and facilitates the frictionless movement of the joints. When the cartilage gets damaged, the bones grind against each other, causing severe pain and restrictive movements. This damage can take place over a few years or in a short time.
- Rheumatoid arthritis
In this type of arthritis, the immune system adversely affects the outer covering or the lining around the joint capsule. The joint capsule is a hard membrane that surrounds parts of the joints. When a person is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, the outer covering swells up or suffers from inflammation. This results in destroyed cartilage and bone present inside the joint.
Signs and symptoms
Since arthritis affects joints, all the symptoms of this condition are found in joint areas, like knees, ankles, elbows, and more. Some of the most commonly found symptoms of arthritis in the joints are listed below.
As a person gets older, the risk of suffering from arthritis increases. If you are young and are suffering from pain in your joints, you must get it checked by a doctor immediately. If you neglect it now, it will result in further problems as you grow older.
- Family history
There are many families in which several individuals, across different generations, are found to be suffering from arthritis. If you belong to a family with a long-standing history of this condition, you must get yourself checked at an early age and find out if you have any likelihood of developing arthritis.
Women have been found to be more susceptible to arthritis than men. Women are at a higher risk of suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Gout is a kind of arthritis that mostly affects men.
- Past injury
Sportspersons suffer from injuries quite often. Even if you do not play any sport and have suffered from some serious joint injury in the past, there is a chance of you developing arthritis at a later stage in life.
- Being overweight or obesity
Excess weight puts pressure on the joints in the spine, knees, and the hips. If you are overweight, you should make an effort to shed off extra pounds.