What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is often referred to as a single disease. Arthritis is a medical terminology that is used to encompass numerous medical conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system, specifically joints where two or more bones meet.

Arthritis is defined as the inflammation of a joint and it is usually accompanied by pain, swelling, and stiffness and restricted joint mobility. The symptoms of arthritis can develop gradually or suddenly, and some rheumatologic conditions also involve the immune system and various internal organs of the body. Arthritis may be triggered as a result of infection, trauma, degenerative changes, metabolic disturbances, or other causes.

Arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions play a significant role in affecting the quality of life of people around the globe. These conditions are major contributors to illness, chronic pain and disability in individuals worldwide. Arthritis is one of the highly prevalent diseases and it places a significant burden on the workforce due to disruptions in daily life and loss of productivity.

Risk Factors in the development of Arthritis

There is a common myth that arthritis usually affects the elderly population. This is simply not true. Arthritis can affect anyone at any age. Arthritis affects people from all ethnic backgrounds and nationalities. According to clinical research, there are certain risk factors that may trigger the onset of arthritis. These factors include family history, genetic predisposition and infections. Other risk factors in the development of arthritis include previous trauma, sports injuries and obesity. Arthritis is more common in women than in men. However, certain types of arthritis like gout are found to be 10 times more common in men than in women.

Different forms of Arthritis

Arthritis is a term that is used to describe numerous musculoskeletal conditions. However, the most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout. The term arthritis is also used to describe other diseases such as ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, fibromyalgia, systemic lupus erythematous and scleroderma.

Arthritis can significantly affect the quality of life of an individual

Arthritis causes pain, stiffness, inflammation and damage to joints. It affects the neighboring structures like the muscles, tissues, ligaments and the joint cartilage which is a protective covering surrounding the joint. This results in further complications and deformities in the person suffering from arthritis. The mobility of the joint is hampered or restricted over a period of time. Even the most simple and basic tasks like walking, driving a car, holding things, sitting and waking up from bed can cause considerable pain and restriction.

Diagnosis of Arthritis

Arthritis is diagnosed by the doctor on the basis of symptomatic evaluation, clinical assessments, blood and urine tests, x-rays and other imaging tests.

There is no permanent cure for arthritis. The treatment of arthritis is mainly targeted at relief from symptoms like pain, stiffness and restricted movements. The treatment is also focused on identifying the trigger factors and trying to prevent them. With proper management and treatment there can be considerable improvement in the quality of life of the affected person.

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