Arthritis, which is a group of diseases, entails over 100 medical conditions. It can affect people at very young age including children who can also suffer from the illness. Arthritis, or inflammation of the joint, can be of various types depending on several reasons. The bodily joints are held through ligaments (enabling movement).
The cartilage prevents two bones from rubbing directly along with the synovial fluid. Arthritis can arise out of something going wrong with the cartilage (wear away), infection, lack of fluid, autoimmunity (rheumatoid arthritis) or even a combination of several factors.
Reasons for Arthritis
The type of arthritis determines the cause behind it. The exact cause behind arthritis can be difficult to identify although it is a commonly observed phenomenon. However, the following can be observed as the main reasons behind arthritis.
Arthritis has a genetic dimension and hereditary factors play their role in advocating the illness. It tends to run in families. Knee arthritis is a common example having genetic inclination, although there can be other reasons behind it (like meniscus tear or fracture to the bone). However, the extent of inheritance needs more understanding and examination.
Arthritis in the hand can be due to inherited bone abnormalities. It affects joint shape or stability. It can also cause cartilage to form abnormally. People who are bowlegged or double jointed have the risk of having arthritis.
With passing time, the cartilage becomes more brittle as it has reduced capacity to repair itself. The likelihood of suffering from arthritis increases as you grow older.
Joint functioning is affected by the load it has to support. Increased load, which can arise out of being overweight, can cause more damage to the joints. The hips and knees are more susceptible as they have been observed to wear out quickly in heavier people suffering from arthritis.
Injury and Sports
An injury or damage to the joint can hinder its normal smooth joint surface. Prior (major) injuries can contribute to arthritis. For instance, Shoulder arthritis is typically found in patients over 50 years of age and is more common with those having a history of previous shoulder injury. It also has a genetic predisposition. Another example is the tibial plateau fracture in which an injury leads to arthritis.
Although the exact relationship between arthritis and high level sports can be difficult to determine, it cannot be negated that sports involvement can contribute to arthritis. However, there can be more benefits than risks associated with sports.
Joint infection or other medical conditions can also cause arthritis. Gout or psuedogout, which are medical abnormalities, can contribute to arthritis. The immune system can also be self destructive (as in rheumatoid arthritis) and misdirect it to cause damage.
Areas engaging in repetitive motion, like using machinery, have a higher risk of developing arthritis compared to those not indulging in such activities. The high demand jobs can pose increased burden on the joints causing more wear and tear.
Arthritis has no cure but early treatment can reduce its harm and damage to the body. It is a major cause of disability and thereby demands prompt attention and treatment. It not only produces physical disability but also obstructs emotional progress and can create alarming situations if left unattended.
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