Arthritis is defined as inflammation of one or more joints of the body. Today this condition is the leading cause of pain and disability worldwide.
There are over 100 different types of Arthritis identified; the most common ones being Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic disease, which affects the joints, connective tissues, muscle, tendons, and fibrous tissue. It is a condition in which the Synovial Membrane, a tough lining surrounding different parts of the joint capsule, comes under attack by the body’s immune system resulting in inflammation and swelling. With its progress, this disease can eventually lead to permanent damage to the cartilage and the bone within the joint.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease, which mainly affects the Articular Cartilage. It is the most common type of arthritis, which is associated with aging and results from wear-and- tear damage to your joints including the knees, hips, fingers, and lower spine region. This damage can be a result of joints being under continual stress over the years, or it can be accelerated by a joint injury or infection. Osteoarthritis is already considered to be one of the ten most disabling diseases in developed countries.
Even though the treatment options differ as per the type of Arthritis, the most common signs and symptoms of the disease involve the joints. Signs and symptoms of different types of Arthritis may include the following:
- Pain in and around the joints
- Stiffness of muscles and joints
- Swelling or inflammation
- Decreased range of motion
There are several types of Arthritis, hence is no single answer to the question, “What causes Arthritis?”
However, there are several identifiable risk factors that can lead to the disease. They are:
- Your Genes: If you have a family history of Arthritis, chances are that you may develop the same. Certain types of Arthritis are hereditary and they can make you susceptible towards environmental triggers.
- Your Age: Age is a major risk factor for Arthritis. The chances of developing the three most common types of Arthritis namely Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Gout increases with age.
- Your Gender: Women, in general, are more likely to develop Arthritis than men. While Rheumatoid Arthritis is more common in women, most people who develop gout, another type of arthritis, are usually men.
- Your Weight: Obesity, as they say, is a silent killer. All those extra kilos put your joints under tremendous amounts of stress, particularly your knees, hips, and spinal cord resulting in wears and tear. Thus obese people are at a greater risk of developing arthritis.
Although there is no known way to prevent Arthritis, certain steps and measures can be taken today, in order to prevent the disease or its progression effectively tomorrow.
- Watch Your Weight: Maintain a normal body weight, as extra kilos add extra pressure on your joints making you more susceptible towards Arthritis.
- Exercise in Moderation: Exercise in moderation is important as it improves your range of motion, strengthens your muscles and increases your endurance levels. But, too much of anything can act as a deterrent. Hence, avoid certain high impact exercises and activities that can damage your joints and cartilage.
- Drink Plenty of Water: Staying hydrated is one of the easiest ways to avoid Arthritis. Drink at least 7-8 glasses of water each day to keep your cartilages and joints hydrated.
- Maintain a Balanced Diet: What you eat is very important as certain foods can act as a trigger when it comes to Arthritis. A diet rich in sugar or carbohydrates can lead to inflammation just like excessive salt in your diet. Instead, fill up your diet with foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D as they help prevent Arthritis.
Arthritis can affect anyone at any age. Follow the above mentioned preventive measures to lower your chances of developing it.
For further information, consult the best Rheumatologist in India at Ask Apollo and get expert advice.