What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a joint disease. This means that it specifically targets the joints of your body. Arthritis is a quite common disorder. In fact, according to the Arthritis Foundation, over 46 million adults throughout the United States suffer from it. When arthritis attacks it causes inflammation in the joint tissue, and damage to the joint cartilage. There are two different kinds of arthritis, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Both cause stiffness and pain whenever the joint is moved or flexed.
One of the main reasons why osteoarthritis occurs is overuse of the joint. Repetitive motions such as typing, or sports related moves, can cause the cartilage and other tissues in the joint to become damage. The body's natural reaction to damage is to cause inflammation. The inflammation mixed with the joint damage causes the pain associated with arthritis.
Obesity is a rising cause of osteoarthritis. The more weight you gain, the more pressure that is placed on the joints, especially in the knees and ankles. With weight, the pressure on the joints is constant as long as you are standing or placing any weight on your legs and feet. That pressure over time can damage the tissue of the joint and cause arthritis.
Your family history may also make you more prone to both types of arthritis. Genes determine the way your body is made up. Different genes that were passed on to you from your parents may result in stronger joints, or they may also result in weaker, more prone to arthritis joints.
Age is another common cause of arthritis. The older we get, the weaker the tissues of the body get as well. Age exposes the joints to damage that they may have been able to withstand at a younger age. Also, years of wear and tear also take their toll on joints as we age.
Rheumatoid arthritis is less common than osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by an immune system malfunction. This causes the immune system to turn on itself which manifests by attacking the tissue in the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can be caused by genetic factors similar to osteoarthritis, but outside of genes there are few concrete answers on its causes. Some medical professionals believe it could be hormonal, others believe that it may also have to do with a viral or bacterial infection. However, a concrete cause has yet to be discovered.
What is Arthritis?