What is Arthritis?
Arthritis means the inflammation of one or more joints. Both small and large joints can be affected. It is a painful and immobilizing disease and can occur in males and females of all ages, particularly adults, but rarely in the children. It is not true that arthritis can occur in elderly persons only.
Causes of Arthritis
Researchers have been searching for the cause of arthritis for decades but the exact cause of arthritis still remains unknown. There are many different views about it but three theories about the cause are frequently talked about. These are:
- Genetic or hereditary factors It is likely that genetic variations can contribute but it not necessary that the cause will always have a link to genetics. Exactly how much these contribute to the cause of arthritis is not clearly known.
- Immune system abnormalities or autoimmune disease This is understood to be more likely cause of arthritis but what exactly is it, is not known or specified.
- A persistent or triggering infection Like the previous two, this cause is also a supposition. With so much advancement of medical science, this infection if it does exist, remains unknown.
- Association with a particular disease In certain cases, arthritis may be associated with a particular disease. For example, arthritis associated with psoriasis is called psoriatic arthritis.
One opinion about the cause of arthritis is that it occurs due to localized dryness in the joints that reduces their natural flexibility. It happens due to persistent use of incorrect diet. Once the flexibility reduces or in other words, when rigidity occurs, friction inside the joints increases during movement. As a result, the movements of the joints become painful.
Symptoms of Arthritis
There are many signs and symptoms of arthritis, which may vary from person to person but rigidity of joints and painful movement is common in nearly all the cases.
- Pain in joints, which can be worse while at rest, worse on continued motion or beginning of motion.
- Reduced flexibility or in other words rigidity of joints. In certain cases, rigidity and/or pain may be felt only on beginning of the motion for short while.
- Stiffness, which is more pronounced on waking in the morning or after sitting in one posture for some time.
- Limitation of movement, which is partial rigidity of joints
- Swelling of joints
- Redness of some or all the joints
- Warmth in few or all the joints
- Deformation of some or all the joints
- Weakness of joints
- Cracking sounds felt on movement of the joints
- Increase of pain during weather changes. Cold and dry weather is generally more troublesome.
These are the signs and symptoms associated with arthritis but all of these are not present in all the cases even if the disease is highly advanced. Some sufferers may have even additional symptoms. Arthritis is slow in development and usually starts with mild discomfort in the movement of joints, which may not necessarily have associated pain and the person may not pay much attention to it. As the disease progresses, the signs and symptoms may become more noticeable. Whatever be the symptoms, if the disease remains untreated for longer time, the symptoms are likely to aggravate making the movement more and more painful and difficult. So take care and go for treatment before it becomes difficult.