What is Arthritis?
There are some common misunderstandings about exactly what is arthritis and how it affects the sufferers body. arthritis in fingers The word Arthritis derives from the Latin word for joint which is Artho and the word for inflammation which is itis. So Arthritis quite literally means joint inflammation. However one of the big misconceptions about arthritis is that it is a single disease.
Arthritis is in fact a blanket term for over one hundred separate rheumatic diseases and other related conditions. Arthritis affects not only the joints but also the tissue that surrounds them including the ligaments, muscles, and tendons.
When Arthritis goes untreated the consequences can be severe. It can result in stiffness and pain; it can also make performing even relativity common place activities difficult. Arthritis affects people of all ages and while it is associated with aging children can also suffer from the disease. It is worth noting that 3 out of 5 people who suffer from Arthritis are under the age of 65.
The severity of Arthritis differs from person to person. Sometimes arthritis will affect only a single joint but in other cases it will affect the entire body including most of the joints. There are different types of arthritis with the most common form being Osteoarthritis. While osteoarthritis is specific to single joints in the body the second most common form of arthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, is systemic meaning that the symptoms occur throughout the entire body.
Firstly let’s answer the question what is osteoarthritis? Osteoarthritis is a consequence of the wearing down of joints over time. This type of arthritis is most commonly found in the elderly, although younger people who have endured a lot of wear and tear on their joints do suffer from it as well. Typically osteoarthritis can be treated with a combination of medication and pain management techniques. However in some cases the joints will need to be exchanged for artificial replacements.
Osteoarthritis is a relatively common disease with some 16% of the population of North America reporting that they are suffering from the condition. One of the major reasons for the prevalence of arthritis is due to demographic and societal trends in the developed countries. People as a whole are living longer and because arthritis is a degenerative disease this naturally leads to more sufferers.
However this is not the sole cause of an increasing number of Arthritis sufferers. The baby boomer generation has been considerably more exercise conscious than previous generations. As a consequence they have spent more time engaged in the type of physical activities such as jogging that impact the joints. Even if the proper footwear and clothes are worn this constant pressure on the joints can have a lasting impact.
The damage starts with shin splits. When these heal they replace the softer more shock absorbing bones with a harder bone structure. Eventually the long bones of the leg are no longer as resilient as they once were. This leads to increased stress on the cartilage that lines the bones. In turn this can cause osteoarthritis to develop. One of the most common problem areas is knee osteoarthritis because of the amount of pressure and wear that is placed on this area during physical exercise or for some types of work.
Osteoarthritis symptoms include a lack of mobility, painful swelling and inflammation. As osteoarthritis develops most patients notice an increase in stiffness in the joints which indicates the condition is getting worse. Left untreated the joints can become progressively more worn down until surgery is the only option.