What is Arthritis?

October 17, 2007 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

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For starters, let me cover the basics of arthritis:

Arthritis is most commonly characterized by pain and stiffness in the body causing swelling especially in the joints such as elbows and knees leading to difficulty in movement.

There are several kinds of arthritis:

1. osteoarthritis (OA) — is also called degenerative joint disease that is often related to aging and injury. As the term “degenerative joint” implies, the condition is characterized by the deterioration of the joints.

As defined by Medline Plus:

Osteoarthritis breaks down the cartilage in your joints. Cartilage is the slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint.

Healthy cartilage absorbs the shock of movement. When you lose cartilage, your bones rub together. Over time, this rubbing can permanently damage the joint.

2. rheumatoid arthritis (RA) – is the most common form of arthritis starting between the ages of 25-55 and is more common in women. This causes the pain, swelling, stiffness and loosing function of the joints. This is an autoimmune disease whose cause is unknown although risk factors that include genes are identified.

According to Medline Plus:

You might have the disease for only a short time, or symptoms might come and go. The severe form can last a lifetime.

RA can affect body parts besides joints, such as your eyes, mouth and lungs.

RA is an autoimmune disease, which means the arthritis results from your immune system attacking your body’s own tissues.

3. juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) – is the arthritis that occurs in children and is also called Childhood arthritis, Juvenile idiopathic arthritis or Still’s disease. Like the other forms or arthritis, this also cause swelling of the joints that affects its motions and an autoimmune disease. Except that this occurs in people aged 16 and below.

From Medline Plus:

One early sign of JRA may be limping in the morning. Symptoms can come and go. Some children have just one or two flare-ups. Others have symptoms that never go away. JRA causes growth problems in some children.

If you have an old notion that arthritis happens only in the elderly adults, remind yourself that arthritis is a condition that can also happen in the younger population, even children. I previously thought too that arthritis is an old-age condition.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), forty-six million Americans have arthritis or a rheumatoid condition and that arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States.

WOW. Imagine if you include the statistics for the rest of the world. Here in the Philippines alone, arthritis is a very common ailment. I’m hoping I’ll hear from some of you in the process of my blogging for arthritis.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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