Arthritis is often used to describe the pain that people tend to feel in their joints. (3) It has to be noted that even though the exact meaning of the word “arthritis” is inflammation in the joint, the term can be used to describe more than 200 different types of rheumatic diseases and conditions. All of these affect the joints, as well as the tissues that (3) surround the joint and connective tissue close to the joints. (1)
Several different types of arthritis tend to be present in people, with the most common form being osteoarthritis. Other forms of arthritis include gout, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. There can be several causes of arthritis and they all depend on the various types of arthritis that a person is likely to get afflicted with.
What is Arthritis?
As noted earlier, arthritis is inflammation in the joints of the person. This inflammation can be painful and it can also cause various other problems in the person, such as stiffness, aches, swelling, and discomfort. The symptoms of arthritis can develop either very quickly, or they can be gradual with the symptoms appearing over several days and even months and years.
It has to be noted that there are certain forms of arthritis that occur because of autoimmune diseases. (2) For example, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means that the body starts to attack its own cells. Similarly, lupus is also an autoimmune disease that tends to affect several different organs and parts of the body.
It has to be noted that arthritis is most common in older people, such as people who are older than 60 or 65 years of age. However, this does not mean that younger people are not susceptible to arthritis. Furthermore, even though the causes of arthritis are not defined well, it has to be noted that several risk factors do exist.
Risk Factors for Arthritis
Several risk factors have been depicted with regards to the person having a higher risk of getting the disease and increasing the causes of arthritis. Some of the risk factors can be modified, while others cannot. For example, age, gender, and genetics tend to present risk factors for people being afflicted with arthritis. This is because people who are older, women, as well as certain genetic predispositions result in the person being more susceptible to getting arthritis. These are not modifiable risk factors.
At the same time, other risk factors are also present and these are modifiable. (5) These include injuries to the joints, being overweight or obese, infections, as well as occupational hazards. If a person injures a joint or receives trauma, that joint is likely to be afflicted with arthritis. Similarly, being overweight and obese also makes it more likely for the person to get arthritis.
Infections can also trigger several different types of arthritis in people. Finally, repetitive overuse of the joints in case of a person having a specific occupation, such as being an athlete, also increases the risk of getting arthritis. Other than that, it has been noted that smokers, people who drink alcohol excessively, as well as those having an extremely sedentary lifestyle are all also at risk of being afflicted with arthritis.
Causes of Arthritis consists of several different types of arthritis, which is why no single cause can be depicted for a person being afflicted with arthritis.
Several causes of arthritis can be cited. Some of the causes of arthritis can therefore include injury, inheritance, immune system dysfunction, infections, and abnormal metabolism. (6) However, the thing to note is that many different factors usually combine to create the causes of arthritis. For instance, a person might have injured his or her knees, which is then exasperated because of a certain medication or infection, causing arthritis. Other than that, several forms of arthritis tend to appear without any apparent causes and this is why arthritis can be extremely unpredictable.
Looking at the different types, we find that different causes of arthritis can be depicted. For instance, osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease and aging causes it. When a person ages, the joints start to lose the smooth areas that are in between the spaces of the joint to become rough, causing the joints to grind and cause pain and inflammation. (2) This wear and tear of the cartilage occurs because of aging, which is why the osteoarthritis occurs.
Looking at other causes of arthritis, we find that in some cases, several other aspects of a person’s life, such as diet and nutrition, can also play a role in the person being afflicted by the illness.
Several types of foods, as well as intolerances and sensitivities to such foods, can be some of the causes of arthritis. (3) These can include various types of food that cause inflammation, such as foods derived from animals, as well as food items that contain large portions of refined sugar can all cause arthritis and also make it worse. In the same vein, we find that some of the foods can result in the immune system being triggered, which can result in the arthritis symptoms becoming much worse and more severe.
One type of arthritis that is can be caused by a bad diet is called gout. High levels of uric acid in the body cause gout.
Uric acid is found abundantly in foods that are high in purines, such as seafood, red wine, as well as several types of meat contain. The interesting thing to note, however, is that some vegetables as well as other plant foods also contain high levels of purine but they do not make the symptoms of gout any worse.
Some more causes of arthritis – such as for rheumatoid arthritis – include the malfunction of the body’s immune system. (4) In this regard, rheumatoid arthritis is something that occurs when the body’s immune system starts attacking its own tissues, which causes inflammation and pain.
Five Tips to Reduce the Problems of Arthritis
Pain from arthritis affects thousands of people across the world. Osteoarthritis is the most common form and is caused by over use of joints, in this case, the knee. Although it is not curable there are various things that you can do to limit the amount of pain you feel.
Manage Your Weight
Being overweight can cause of make worse problems of pain associated with arthritis. By exercising and improving your diet you can lose weight. The aim should be to lose fat but also to build muscle around the joints. You should focus on strength exercises rather than activities that might further hinder the knee. You should avoid running, jumping or tennis for example.
Do Meditation or Yoga
The focus here should be relaxing the body and mind so that you reduce the amount of pain you feel overall. You should be able to build your capacity to cope with pain and therefore should be able to deal with the pain in an improved manner. For Yoga, We highly recommend Yoga Burn, by Zoe Bray Cotton.
See a Physiotherapist
Physical therapy can be just as effective as surgery for relieving knee pain. A physiotherapy session can help you to build muscle in other areas of your body to relieve the pressure on your knees. It will also encourage the muscles that support your knees to be stretched, your core muscles to be toned and for the rest of your body to be in good physical shape.
Use Hot and Cold Therapy
Hot and cold temperatures can help to relieve pain within the joints. It is best achieved through the application of warm materials such as a hot water bottle, heat pad or electric blanket or cold materials such as a gel ice pack.
There are numerous pain relievers available, specific to arthritis. Consider over the counter analgesics, NSAIDS such as ibuprofen or topical analgesics.