What can cause Arthritis?

November 12, 2012

What can cause Arthritis?

Arthritis is a term that covers hundreds of medical conditions. They most commonly affect older people and there are a number of factors that can cause arthritis.

Factors that cause arthritis

Arthritis is the condition that occurs when there is something wrong with part of the joint. A joint is what occurs wherever two bones meet. There are ligaments holding the bones in place and cartilage covering the surfaces of the bone to prevent them rubbing against each other. There is, whatÂ’s known as a capsule surrounding the entire joint and in the space created there is a nourishing fluid known as synovial fluid. Some of the factors that can cause arthritis include the cartilage wearing away, a lack of synovial fluid and infection. There are over one hundred different conditions that fall under the name arthritis and they all affect the joint in a different way or have a certain cause. Some of the more common ones include:

  • Osteoarthritis

This condition occurs when the cartilage covering the surface of the bones, loses its elasticity. When this happens it becomes easier to be damaged and begins to wear away. This will lead to pain, especially if the cartilage wears away to the point where the bones begin to rub against each other. Symptoms of osteoarthritis will appear slowly and gradually get worse. The joint will often feel stiff, particularly after long periods of not being used such as whilst asleep. There can be some swelling and most people will experience pain during or after use. Joints most likely to be affected are the hips, hands, knees and spine and the factor thought to cause arthritis in this case is general wear and tear.

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

The factor that is thought to cause arthritis of this kind is the autoimmune system attacking the synovial membrane leading to inflammation. This condition should be treated as soon as symptoms present themselves to avoid complications including deformity. It can affect people of all ages although it is most common in women between the ages of 40-60. In most cases the individual suffering from this condition will find that the same joint on both sides of their body is affected. Symptoms include the joints becoming inflamed, swollen and stiff. Weight loss is another symptom as is red, puffy hands and tenderness. Smaller joints tend to be affected first with it progressing and spreading to larger joints.

  • Infectious Arthritis

This is the name given to the condition that can cause arthritis through an infection of the synovial fluid or surrounding tissues. Bacteria, fungi or a virus, which can be spread via the bloodstream, may cause this infection. Symptoms of this condition include a fever and inflammation of the infected joint.

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

This, as the name suggests is the name given to arthritis when someone of the age of 16 or under experiences it. There are three main types of JRA, known as Pauciarticular JRA, Polyarticular JRA and Systemic JRA. They all differ in severity and the number of joints that are usually affected. Symptoms often include an intermittent fever, a loss of appetite and weight loss. Rashes on the arms and legs and anaemia are also common.

Treatments

Anyone experiencing any symptoms of arthritis should make an appointment with their doctor as soon as possible. Depending on the kind of arthritis, the severity and the factors that have led to cause arthritis, the treatment may include physical therapy, medications or a combination of the two. Diet can also cause arthritis if the individual is not getting all of the critical nutrients that the body requires. Body weight can also have an impact as it places extra strain on certain joints. Patients should also speak to the doctors about certain lifestyle changes that they might have to make in order to ease or prevent further symptoms of arthritis.

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