Arthritis is a condition in which one or more joints get inflamed causing pain and stiffness to the person suffering from it. Arthritis usually becomes worse with age and often affects old people more than young ones. Arthritis is a very common disease with multiple types, but it is still not very well understood by doctors and patients alike. The term "arthritis" is used to describe 200 types of rheumatic diseases and related conditions that affect the joints. Different types of arthritis are caused in different ways.
Causes of Arthritis
Potential causes of arthritis may include the following:
- Injury: An injury can lead to degenerative arthritis.
- Genetics: There are individuals who are genetically predisposed to developing arthritis. This is often seen in the case of osteoarthritis.
- Infections: This is seen in Lyme arthritis (an infection that affects the joints).
- Immune System Dysfunction: This can also be another cause of some types of arthritis.
How does arthritis affect the body?
While there is no particular way in which you can protect yourself from this condition, especially if you are genetically predisposed to developing it, there are some ways you can adapt to ease your symptoms.
Arthritis causes a lot of pain and stiffness and usually affects more women than men. However, the arthritis type called gout affects more men than women. The symptoms can remain mild for years, but may also get worse for short periods of time. First, arthritis affects the bones, then the muscles, joints, and then damages it. The damage can only be seen with the help of an X-ray. Some types of arthritis could also affect other organs such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, skin, and other internal organs.
Protection against arthritis depends on many factors such as age, gender, and family history. While patients cannot really control any of these factors, there are a few habits that can reduce the risk of painful joints. The following are ways that can help an individual with arthritis suffer less joint pains.
Tips for Living with Arthritis
- Eat fish few times a week: There are certain species of fish that are very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce every type of inflammation in the body. You can choose to include salmon, trout, or sardines in your diet for your lunch or dinner two or three times a week.
- Control your weight: Being overweight can greatly affect your knees. To prevent any major damage to your knees, make sure you eat a healthy diet and regularly participate in physical exercises to be in your best shape.
- Exercise: Not only does exercising help maintain a healthy weight or lose some excess weight, it also relieves stress. Aerobics, fast walking, and swimming are good activities to consider for people with arthritis to provide relief from joint pain.
- Try to avoid getting injured: While you cannot avoid every possible injury, you can certainly minimize the risk of an injury happening. Use safety equipment if you are engaging in any sports and learn the correct exercise techniques to lower the risk of certain injuries. Certain injuries can cause greater problems and have lasting effects for people with arthritis.
- Use proper posture: Using the right techniques and posture while running, walking, working, and even while sitting can prevent or ease pain from arthritis. If you have to lift something heavy, then do it with your knees slightly bent and by supporting the weight with the help of your hips and never with your back.
- Cut back on drinking alcohol: Drink only moderate amounts of your favorite alcoholic beverages. The quantity should be limited to one glass a day for women and two glasses a day for men.
- See a doctor: Visit and consult your doctor if you think you might be developing some form of arthritis. The doctor will then examine you, and if you are diagnosed, he or she will suggest treatments for your condition.
- Wear comfortable shoes: Women with arthritis should not wear high heels. Wearing high heels puts a lot of pressure and stress on the feet, and the human feet are not meant to be in those kinds of shoes, especially for long periods of time.
- Drink plenty of water: Water makes up a huge percentage of our bodies and body parts, including our cartilage. Therefore, drinking water keeps your joints healthy.
- Ensure you have enough vitamin D: Vitamin D is huge when it comes to bone health. Women of menopausal age often suffer from a vitamin D deficiency. Check your vitamin D levels and if they are low, you should consider taking some appropriate supplements.
- Prevent infections: Certain kinds of infections such as ones caused by microbial agents can infect joints and cause various forms of arthritis.
Unfortunately, there are risk factors for developing arthritis that are out of your control. Being a woman with a family history (genetic profile) of arthritis is one of those risk factors. However, living a healthy lifestyle can lower your risk and delay the onset of arthritis.
- If you have a risk of osteoarthritis, then you should control your weight to lower your chances of developing the disorder.
- If you have a risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, then you can decrease your risk by stopping unhealthy habits such as smoking.
- If you have a risk of gout, you can help yourself by eating healthy and maintaining a diet that is low in sugar, alcohol, and purines.
- One in five people over the age of 18 are diagnosed with at least one type of arthritis.
- One in 250 babies and children suffer from arthritis or some type of rheumatic disease.
- Doctors expect that by the year 2030, there will be over 67 million diagnosed patients with arthritis.
Since there is no cure for arthritis, it is extremely important for patients to follow their doctor’s instructions and suggestions so they can live an easier and more comfortable life. Following the advice and instructions of a professional can be extremely beneficial to a person who has arthritis.